The Administration of The Highland Council is hoping to balance the council's budget with far fewer job losses and cuts to services than previously feared. Following considerable analysis of potential savings and consultation with staff and opposition groups, the Administration have developed a package of proposals to take to the Council meeting on 16 February for approval.
Motorists are being advised that pay and display parking at Highland Council's headquarters car park comes into force on Monday 13 February. The pay and display scheme is part of the Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement across the Highlands.
A recommendation to discontinue education provision at the currently mothballed Kinbrace Primary School will be presented to the meeting of The Highland Council on 9 March 2017 for Members' consideration. Members of the Council's Education, Children's and Adult Services Committee have agreed to recommend to the Council that the Authority discontinues education provision at Kinbrace and re-assign its catchment area to Helmsdale Primary school with a small area around Forsinard being reassigned to Melvich Primary.
The Highland Council welcomes the confirmation from the Scottish Government that the Council's decision to close Achfary Primary School has not been called in by Ministers. The school has been mothballed since the end of session 2011/12, with pupils attending either Scourie or Kinlochbervie Primary Schools.
From 1 April 2017 the Scottish Government is changing the basis on which properties are assessed for Council Tax and this will increase the charge for Council Tax properties that are banded E to H. The Highland Council has no discretion in this matter and must apply these increases to the Council Tax charges from 1 April 2017.
Leader of The Highland Council, Margaret Davidson (Independent) has welcomed the outcome of the vote yesterday, 17th January, in the Scottish Parliament, on the motion to reverse the decision to scrap the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Cllr Davidson said: "This vote sends a strong message to the Scottish Government about their incessant centralising agenda and we would now urge Ministers to reconsider their entire approach.
Highland Council is introducing pay and display parking at its headquarters car park as part of its Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Schemes. Cllr Allan Henderson, Chair of the Council's Community Services Committee said: "This change has come from a savings proposal agreed by Council in the December 2014 budget for implementation in 2015/16 to save £20,000 per year.
The Highland Council's Community Services Committee has confirmed that the local authority if ready for winter with respect to its gritting service of council roads. Members have been assured that the council has adequate salt stocks for the region which were replenished in September and October; that the authority will have around 60,000 tonnes in stock for the start of the main winter season and that there are no concerns about future provision of deliveries from the council's supplier.
The Highland Council is reminding everyone that the opportunity to have a say on the modified version of the Proposed Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan (CaSPlan) is coming to an end, with the consultation closing at midday on Friday 11 November 2016. The Council is urging anyone with an interest in Caithness and Sutherland to have their say on the Modified Plan, which focusses on where development should and should not occur in the Caithness and Sutherland area over the next twenty years.
The way fisheries quotas are allocated will remain unchanged once the devolution of new fisheries powers is confirmed, Rural Economy Fergus Ewing has announced. Speaking at the Scottish Fishermen's Federation Dinner, Mr Ewing confirmed his intention to provide the industry with stability by maintaining existing allocations through the Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) system.
Certainty for over £700m of farming, fishing and structural funds projects. EU funding contracts for structural funds, fisheries and farming projects that are agreed before the UK proposes to leave the EU will be paid in full, the Scottish Government has announced.
More than £100 million in criminal assets seized. Significant progress has been made tackling serious organised crime in Scotland as public, private and voluntary sector partners work together to deal with emerging threats from cyber crime, human trafficking and fraud.
Agreement with profession on future role of GPs. A joint agreement on the future direction of GP services has been signed by the Scottish Government and doctors' union the British Medical Association (BMA) The agreement, sent to all GPs this morning, sets out a shared vision for how primary care services can be improved, and the role GPs have to play.
More people across the country will be able to keep themselves and their families warm this winter as a result of £10 million funding announced today. Housing associations and councils will be given a share of £9 million funding to help improve the housing of some of the poorest households and those most in need.
Amenity Services including Grass cutting for The Highland Council will be provided by an in-house service from the beginning of the financial year 2017/18. Members of the Council's Community Services Committee have agreed to establish an in-house operation with a revised management structure and new performance management system.
The Highland Council's Community Services have recently completed a recruitment drive for apprentice mechanics. Over 250 applications were received and nine new apprentices have just started their 4 year training programme.
Due to the uncertainty over the retention of the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) Board and following discussions at last week's Highland Council meeting, a report went to today's (Wednesday 2 November) Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee so members could discuss the issue. In its original response to the Scottish Government on the Enterprise and Skills Review, the Council stressed the need to retain a regional economic development focus and the report presented today considered the outcomes of the first phase of the Review and how proposals for the implementation of phase 2 could impact on the Highlands, in particular proposals to create a Scottish wide Strategic Board.
Dornoch is the only Scottish finalist in the Great British High Street Awards and local Councillor Jim McGillivray is calling for people to cast their vote to give the Sutherland village a chance of winning. He said: "Across all fourteen categories of the awards, Dornoch is the only Scottish finalist, and we're up against Leominister and Stockton on Tees in the Rising Star category, both of which have much larger populations than we do.
The Highland Council is anticipating it may have to make savings of £47 million to £72 million over the next 3 years, with a budget gap of some £26 million next year (2017-18) The financial environment is very challenging, with an unprecedented degree of uncertainty which makes planning very difficult. There will be a very short timescale to react and provide options for budget savings once the Scottish Government settlement is made known on 15 December.
Creag Riabhach wind farm to generate enough power for 36,000 homes. Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse has today given consent for the construction of a 22 turbine wind farm in the Highlands.