The Highland Council has given a cautious welcome to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy’s announcement that the Scottish Government has identified an additional one-off £120m for Local Government funding from this year’s Budget.
Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said:
“Highland Council campaigned really hard for a fairer budget settlement for Scotland’s local authorities to address recurring pressures.
“This funding will help us to manage some one-off pressures this year, but it will not bridge the gap caused by the reduction in our ongoing core budget, and many increased costs – all of which will need to be met through front line savings and increases in fees, charges and Council tax.
“The Council is working hard to find ways to manage this in a way that has least impact on those who struggle to pay, but it will be impossible to mitigate completely given the scale of the challenge.”
Depute Leader, Alasdair Christie added:
“This is a one-off payment which won’t be recurring for future years so we will still have the same issues in 11 months’ time.
“It will certainly help but it’s not going to solve all the problems that local government has.
“The Cabinet Secretary has given this additional money to stop large above inflation increases of council tax, but it will not stop council tax increases.
“Unless we receive more money for local government, we cannot rule out council tax increases.
“At a time when folk are coming off periods of furlough, struggling to pay soaring energy bills and seeing prices in supermarkets move continually upwards, surely more financial help could be given by the government to support council services which underpin community well-being at these difficult times.”