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Highland Council call for fair Scottish Government funding settlement as finance secretary Kate Forbes finalises budget for local authorities this week

By Alasdair Fraser

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Councillor Margaret Davidson.
Councillor Margaret Davidson.

Three prominent Highland councillors are calling on the Scottish Government to increase local authority funding as part of a “just” budget settlement, when it is announced this week.

Highland Council’s leader, depute leader and the chair of its corporate resources committee made the unified plea to Scotland's finance secretary Kate Forbes.

Ms Forbes will publish the 2022/23 Scottish budget and medium-term financial strategy later on Thursday.

Leader of the council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “We are looking to the Scottish Government to give us a good positive increase in budget and a decent settlement of at least plus 3 per cent to help us support our service delivery.

“We echo and support Cosla’s Live Well Locally budget campaign which highlights that, without adequate funding for local government, recovery will stall and a lot of good progress made will be wasted, as the pandemic hit our poorest communities hardest.”

Highland Council Alasdair Christie.
Highland Council Alasdair Christie.

Cllr Alasdair Christie, depute leader of the council, said: “This has been an acute year for local authorities and in particular for Children’s Services and Adult Services.

“It is vital that we have sufficient support from the Scottish Government to enable us to support our most vulnerable in society as we move forward.”

Councillor Jimmy Gray.
Councillor Jimmy Gray.

Cllr Jimmy Gray, the corporate resources committee chairman, added: “All Scottish local authorities will be looking to the finance secretary on Thursday for a just settlement.

“With strong positive financial planning in place, this will enable us to invest in essential infrastructure, such as schools and roads while supporting and delivering vital community services.”

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