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Less smoke and mirrors from Scottish Government demands Highland Leader

29th June 2017

During a debate about the future of Highland Council finances, Leader of the Council, Margaret Davidson, has challenged the Scottish Government to be more open about the funding they provide for local councils across Scotland.

"In recent years' we've seen too much smoke and mirrors when it comes to the Scottish Government handing out their annual grant to local councils. They give the impression that councils receive a cash bonanza yet when you look at the detail you find that you have lost out. Often any new money is liked with stringent conditions leaving councillors with no room for manoeuvre.

There was a welcome for the constructive approach offered by the SNP opposition and the Leader urged all councillors to join her in lobbying Scottish Ministers to announce forthcoming funding earlier and to move to provide certainty over a longer-term to allow Highland Council to plan budgets over a three to five year period.

Commenting after the debate, Councillor Alister Mackinnon, Chair of Corporate Resources commented, "We need to convince the government to confirm funding for more than one-year at a time so that we can plan for the future. Doing so on a year-by-year just leads to short-term thinking and poor choices. As we plan our budget for future years we need to know now whether the government will give councils more flexibility over Council Tax levels, or impose another cap as they did last year. That will allow us to consider all options in the months ahead."

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