Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions.
She said: “No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February. I am hugely disappointed that there has been coverage of leaked draft papers and I understand that this is unsettling for staff and communities. We are working across the council with members, staff and unions to identify a range of proposals to bridge the budget gap and many things will change.
“We have been given a very tight settlement and despite what has been said by the Scottish Government, this has effectively removed nearly £10 million from our budget. This Scottish Government imposed cut in funding will impact on the delivery of front line services and with other additional budget pressures, has left us with nearly £26 million to find in savings.
“We are doing our level best, working closely with staff, to find savings with the least impact on communities; however we will have to consider all options and that includes some very unwelcome proposals in the face of this huge gap in our resources. I would ask for patience in allowing us to have these discussions prior to final proposals being put to Council.
“I am hearing the concerns which are being expressed, and we are speaking to opposition groups in parliament and COSLA,( The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) as well as others who can help us in getting a fairer settlement.”
The final budget proposals will be published on 9 February.