Thursday, May 15, 2014

Highland Council needs to save £63 million from the budget 2015-19 – “It’s not going to be easy the next several years at all” says Colin MacAulay

Whatever the political and economic climate post the referendum in September the uncomfortable realities that Highland Council have to face still have to come home to roost but before there are any cuts the public will be asked for their ideas. The Highland Council website puts a figure on what has to come out of the budget: “Dates have been set for a series of 13 budget events being held by The Highland Council to consult with the public over spending priorities between 2015-2019 during which time the Council has to find savings of an estimated £63 million.”  More details here. 

Local Councillor Colin MacAulay gave a pretty sobering vision of what is to come to River CC members on Wednesday night in the URC hall He said there would be a Nairn Ward Budget Consultation meeting on Thursday the 12th of June in the Courthouse and then stated: 

“We know we are going to have significantly fewer resources, before we are hit with the sharpness of that we want to do a two stage consultation where folk look at it in the first instance. Proposals then come forward and we’ll have a range of ways of working to do that but using the citizens’ panel, using a citizens’ forum kind of thin. Just we can talk about salami slicing, the level of cut we are going to be experiencing in two years time, taking two percent off here and three percent off it – it’s not going to do. We need to do either less or differently and we need that kind of conversation over a period of time.” 

Harking back to the old days and a former consultation by the old administration, Liz MacDonald said with a touch of irony that brought laughter to the room: “ and there’s no proposals in our budget consultation to close the swimming pool.”

Colin continued “This is about folk trying to be creative and thinking, what are we doing in manner A that could actually be done in manner B or get more out of fashion C or whatever else? It’s not going to be easy the next several years at all.” 


Anonymous said...

They made a start by cutting down the number of Directors within Highland Council, they should now reduce the number of management positions there are. Highland Council have out-sourced a lot of jobs, yet it still has a top-heavy Management/Officials structure, this needs to be addressed.

Anonymous said...

Why not increase the Council Tax? Every price has gone up over the years of the Council Tax freeze so why is it immune? Services have deteriorated, work privatized and local jobs lost. I agree thinning out of duplicated overpaid jobs and departments was/is necessary but the cost of good quality basic services must also be met. The freeze is a political bribe to make us think all is well, and will always be well, at least through rose, or thistle, tinted glasses. Red pen?

Anonymous said...

The police have a separate budget from the council budget, so why do the council spend additional funds just for the so called "Safety camera vans". If the camera vans can't be funded out of the existing police budget they should be cut!

Graisg said...

mmmmm, isn't that a partnership thing anon? Have you got a link to the latest info?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "Why not increase the Council Tax?"
If Anonymous wishes to pay more to the council them feel free and send highland council a cheque, no one is stopping you.

Anonymous said...

Ithink we are getting into job cuts at the bottom as well.The volantary sector have already planted some spring bedding and most of the grass has been privatised. in the future where will the services be provided from,the bin carts could come from inverness,loss of local jobs,doesnt add up to me