Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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The Highland Council has the "lowest levels of reserves" they have ever had, according to their Budget Leader, Alister Mackinnon.

Meetings between the Chief Executive and Budget Leader with Highland Council budget holders will take place this week.

The meetings aim to set out tight budget controls throughout the year.

Highland Council say they are currently operating with an overspend of £5 million.  

A programme entitled 'A Sustainable Highland' was approved in February.  The programme aims to deliver £37.456m savings over the next three years.

A fund of £2.5 million has been set aside to help resource and deliver the change programme and Council will be asked next week to approve the use of £1 million of the fund to resource the necessary changes to deliver the savings.

The remaining fund is earmarked to cover risk.

Budget Leader, Alister Mackinnon, said: “The Council must live within its means in meeting customer needs and we must deliver our legal responsibilities.

"We simply can’t afford to spend beyond our means, no matter how compelling the case.

"We now have the lowest levels of reserves we have ever had and there will always be emerging pressures to deal with over the course of the year.

"This year’s savings will not be easy, but we have to deliver them. If we haven’t got the money, we can’t carry on as before and we have to change. ”

Budget measures will include continuing to hold non-essential vacancies, controlling the use of agency staff on which the Council spent over £3M last year, avoiding the use of consultants and outsourcing where possible, and additional procurement controls.

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