Budget details submitted to Cosla

The Highland Council has, along with other Scottish Local Authorities, submitted details to COSLA  of the potential impact of COVID 19 on its revenue and capital budgets.

The Council has estimated potential income losses and additional costs up to £87.5 M which would be off-set in part by savings across a variety of service areas.  This would result in an estimated net impact on the Council’s budgets in excess of £80M due to COVID-19.

The local authority estimates that £25.5 M of income from fees and charges, such as car parking fees and planning fees, could be lost over the financial year; Council tax income may be £5M less than budgeted; and loss of recharge income linked to the Council’s capital plan and other services could amount to £13M.

The Council estimates that costs of the response to COVID-19, such as running Community Hubs, providing food to vulnerable groups and childcare to key workers, may cost £5M over a 6 month period; and that increased service demands on welfare and social care may amount to £7M.

Additional Service costs including the Council’s waste, housing, supply teachers and staffing are estimated in the order of £9M; and contractual costs linked to delays in the delivery of the Council’s capital programme may also cost £9M. The impact on key service level agreements could total £6M.

Importantly, added to this, the Council will face significant challenges in delivering previously approved budget savings of £8M.

The Council’s budget will be the focus of a meeting of the Council in June; and Council officers are in ongoing discussions with COSLA about support from the Scottish Government.

Budget Leader, Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: “Officers are continuing to assess the impact that the pandemic is having on the council’s financial position, while managing the response to the emergency and the risks presented to the Budget.

“What is unfolding is a very complex picture with many unknowns that are affecting the Council’s financial position as its responds to COVID-19. Looking ahead, once the Scottish Government’s  full package of financial support to local authorities is known, we will need to reassess our financial position and implement a plan for recovery.”

7 May 2020