Highland Council is inviting the public, partners, and staff to ‘Tell us more’ on its budget engagement as it considers suggestions to address a £60m budget gap in 2024/25.
Following closure of the Council’s initial budget survey in December over 2,000 people have taken part making over 7,000 suggestions on how the Council can balance its 2024-25 budget.
Following analysis of the Scottish Government’s budget published in December, the Council is now facing an estimated budget gap of around £60m in 2024-25 and is expected to need over £113m across the next 3 years to balance the books with current expenditure.
After deploying some financial tools now available, and subject to decisions on council tax, the Council will likely need to make around £57m in savings over three years, with £38m savings in the next financial year.
The thousands of public suggestions have been analysed and public, partners and staff are now being invited to take part in a second survey and ‘Tell us more’ about some of the suggestions and how these might have an impact.
Highland Council’s engagement with communities and staff will be used to help inform the Administration’s budget proposals and consequent decisions by Members.
Leader of the Council, Raymond Bremner invited people to provide further feedback on the budget suggestions he said:
“Thank you to everyone who responded to the call at the end of last year to take part in our budget survey and simulator.
“We are now seeking further feedback on some of the suggestions put forward and I encourage as many people as possible to have their say on these.
“It is important that we know what matters most to our communities so that we can focus Council resources on key priorities.”
Convener of the Council Bill Lobban added:
“The level of response to the budget engagement at the end of last year has demonstrated the high level of interest that people have in council services.
“There are substantial savings necessary for us to balance the budget.
“It is vital that we understand what is important to communities and the potential impacts of suggestions to help us make the right decisions as we plan for the next three years.”
Get more information, watch a short ‘Tell us more’ video and find out how to complete the second survey at: Budget Challenge 2024/25 – Tell Us More | Engage Highland
Results of the second survey will inform final budget proposals that will be considered by Members of The Highland Council at a special meeting on 29 February 2024.
The meeting will be webcast live and a recording of the meeting made available online following its conclusion.