Highland Council invites community and staff to 'take the budget challenge'
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Highland Council is engaging with communities and staff using video and a new online budget calculator to help inform the proposals and consequent decisions which will be made in February 2024.
This includes allocating resources to deliver the council’s strategic priorities and enable the best outcomes across the Highlands.
The local authority anticipates a budget gap of £60–70 million in 2024-25 and £108m over the next 3 years. The budget gap will need to be closed by spending less, reducing some services, being more efficient and by increasing the level of income the council generates from council tax and other fees or charges.
Over 175 people have now watched a short video on Highland Council's YouTube channel which explains the budget challenge being faced.
Leader of the Highland Council, Raymond Bremner invites people to take part.
He said: “The council is deeply affected by the financial crisis we are all experiencing. We are facing increasing costs and higher interest rates, leaving us with a significant budget gap next year.
“You can attempt the budget challenge yourself, using an online budget simulator, to see how you would make choices to balance the budget.
“You can also take part in a short budget survey and we would really like to hear your views.”
Highland Council convener, Bill Lobban added: “It is vital that we understand what is important to communities to help us make the right decisions as we plan ahead for the next three years.
“We want to be able to deliver our programme priorities and invest in the Highlands and, in order to do that, we need to prioritise how we use the resources available to us. We also have a legal duty to balance the council’s budget.”
More information and a guide on how to complete the survey or take the budget challenge is available here: highland.gov.uk/budget
Themes emerging from the engagement activity will be reported to council in December.