Accounts approved

Members of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee today approved the Council’s audited accounts for 2019-20.

In an ordinary year, the accounts would be the cause for much positivity, delivering a much stronger financial foundation. A significant underspend in the financial year 2019-20 allowed for reserves to be significantly replenished and a sustainable budget set for 2020-21 which was intended to further rebuild reserves and allow for investment in local priorities.

The level of uncertainty, however, that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our health, safety, future economic prospects, and our ability to provide services is enormous and means that any review of the Council’s current financial position and future outlook has to be caveated with as yet unknown impacts of the pandemic.

Budget Leader Cllr Alister Mackinnon said: “It is pleasing that the external auditors have confirmed that the Council did really well financially in the year in question in achieving savings, financial planning and rebuilding reserves.

“What is clear is that the hard work during 2019-20 resulted in putting the Council in a more resilient position for any risks which emerged. Forecasting the future with any certainty is simply impossible and we need to continue with a cautious and prudent approach.”

Depute Leader and Chair of Recovery Board Cllr Alasdair Christie added: “As we currently prepare a budget for 2020-21, much uncertainty remains. We need to be in the best possible position to be able to respond to the risks and pressures facing us, while looking to the future and how we can support economic recovery in the Highlands.”

A copy of the audited accounts are available on our website.

28 Jan 2021