Highland Council launches phase two of Budget Consultation
The Highland Council has launched a consultation paper with detailed proposals for saving over £15 million towards a total budget cut of £64 million over the next five years.
The Council has already achieved over £77.7m of cuts, including some through efficiency savings over the past 5 years. The grant the Council receives continues to reduce in real terms due to inflation and increasing costs and the cash grant is not expected to increase over the next 4 years, which leaves a budget gap of £64 million.
Budget Leader, Councillor Maxine Smith said: “These are very difficult times for public services and we are not alone in facing very difficult decisions along with other councils across Scotland.
“The scale of the savings required means that we must now look at changing the way we provide some services and reducing others. This will mean a reduction in the number of staff we employ and the number of buildings we use, and will impact on the services we provide.
“We have consulted extensively already during phase one and we now have a number of detailed proposals which we are considering. We want to hear how these cuts would affect people and communities. We will be consulting the views of 2800 on the Citizens’ Panel, over 200 groups registered for the new Communities Panel and we are running 10 focus groups for people with particular needs. We are also discussing proposals with our partners and the Third Sector Interface which has over 2000 community groups in its network.”
Director of Finance Derek Yule said: “These proposals amount to £15.4 million of savings. We are also proposing other savings which focus on our internal processes and administration. These proposals don’t directly impact on front-line services, but mean we will be leaner and more efficient. Work continues to identify savings to achieve the full £64 million.”
Michelle Morris, Depute Chief Executive added: “The Council maintains its commitment to no compulsory redundancies wherever possible. Working with trade unions and staff we have a good track record in using redeployment and vacancy control to avoid the need for compulsory redundancies.”
The budget consultation paper can be found on our website at www.highland.gov.uk/budgetconsultation, or you can request a paper copy at a service point.