Highland Council is set to achieve a balanced Budget
The papers are published online at http://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/committee/52/the_highland_council
Leader of the Council, Councillor Margaret Davidson said:
“I am relieved to say that we have managed to deliver proposals for a balanced budget to be considered at Council next Thursday. We have had unprecedented challenges, with new information and changes on a daily basis and many of our options were narrowed by Scottish Government decisions.
“We have listened to public views and consulted with our community planning partners and we have taken these views into account when looking at where we can make the savings. We have sought to protect our road infrastructure and winter maintenance as well as Education and Adult Social Care.
“We have also consulted with the Unions and with other Political Groups and I want to thank those who have been involved in that very positive work. This has to be a Highland budget and we have been dedicated to achieving consensus on as much as possible for the sake of the people of Highland.”
Budget Leader councillor Bill Fernie added:
“We can’t protect everything and unpleasant, but necessary and pragmatic decisions will have to be made on 25 February. No one wants to cuts services or reduce funding, but we have no option but to deliver a balanced budget.
“The scale of savings and staff reductions will have an impact on services however, we will seek to minimise the impact wherever possible. For every savings proposal, there has been a huge amount of work to consider the impact on service users and on staff and to mitigate for those impacts as far as possible.”
Councillor Davidson concluded: “We acknowledge the impact of fewer staff and resources and the loss of knowledge and experience will have on those staff left behind. It will not be an easy time and we need to support our staff through that.
“The scale of the challenge and reductions in capacity will mean a complete redesign of the council and its services over 2016. The council will need to consider the ability to continue doing everything it did before, with less money and less resources. However, I am confident that we have a talented and flexible workforce and we will be ready to tackle the challenges ahead in a positive way.”