Understand the challenges of balancing the council budget with our new budget simulator
Over the last 6 years around £135 million has been taken out of the Council’s budget. This year sees another substantial reduction in funding and together with increases in costs, the budget gap is around £26 million.
This is a real challenge for the Council, but we have to deliver a balanced budget. We have done our best to look at how we can make savings whilst causing the least impact on essential services and jobs. We have identified a range of savings to reduce this gap and before we put our full proposals to Council, we would like to understand what is really important to people in the Highlands.
Highland Council is encouraging people across the region to have a go at balancing the Council’s books – using a budget simulator.
The online tool is a new way to do this and gives people the chance to understand the choices facing the local authority and consider how increasing spending in one area means reducing the spend in another.
The Council cannot spend more than it has and there are some areas of the budget that have fixed costs and we cannot cut. The simulator cannot include the entire budget for this reason, but challenges residents to attempt the difficult task of cutting £14million from the budget.
I would encourage as many people as possible to have a go at this innovative tool. You will also be able to see the potential impacts and consequences of reducing spending in certain areas and the difficult choices that Councillors have to make.
By participating and showing us how you would choose to allocate the budget, we will gain a clearer understanding of people’s priorities across the region as we move forward to set the budget on 16 February.
The simulator will be open until Monday 5 February.