Leader calls for flat cash settlement
Speaking after attending today’s COSLA meeting, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson said: “The Highland Council’s services, along with other Local Authorities’, have been cut to the bone after years of real terms reduction in funding from the Scottish Government. Since 2010/11 the Council has made savings of £135m, with £39m in this year alone.
“If we do not get a flat cash settlement, we are facing a potential £26 million hole in our budget which will result in the Council having to reduce or stop providing some services and functions. We have to assume a worst case scenario until the Scottish Government lays out its spending plans for next year on Thursday 15 December.
“We are looking at a range of proposals to make savings and increase income and the Administration will be continuing to work together across the chamber to seek consensus on the way forward in what is a dire financial situation.
“We are listening to people’s reactions to some of the draft budget proposals and nothing will be decided until February. However people need to get real! Cuts on this scale can simply not be made without significant reductions to some services.”
She added: “The Administration of the Council will put the following motion to Council on Thursday 15 December.
“The Highland Council notes the UK Government’s Autumn Statement published on 23 November 2016 which shows a small increase in the overall resources coming to Scotland, both in cash and real terms.
“In view of this, the Highland Council urges the Scottish Government not to impose further damaging cuts to local government funding but provide a cash flat settlement which will help the Council to avoid making significant and painful cuts to front line public services that deliver important lifeline services to our communities in the Highland."