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Badenoch MSP condemns Westminster's late Budget

By Tom Ramage

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A leading Highland MSP has condemned the UK Government for setting its overdue Budget on March 11 – giving the Scottish Government and Highland Council less than a month to do the same before the beginning of the tax year.

Kate Forbes, Badenoch's MSP
Kate Forbes, Badenoch's MSP

Kate Forbes (Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch), said it demonstrated the UK Government’s “complete disregard for the Highlands” – particularly as March 11, 2020 is the date by which local authorities must legally set council tax.

Sajid Javid has announced he will set out his tax and spending plans on that day and COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) has already written to the Westminster Chancellor warning of “catastrophic risks” to local authority services.

Ms Forbes said: “It is astonishing that the UK Government has finally confirmed the date for its long overdue budget as being 11 March.

“That leaves less than a month for Highland Council, never mind the Scottish Government to respond and set a budget before the beginning of the tax year. Furthermore, it is the exact same date by which Highland Council have to legally set Council Tax.

“It shows the complete disregard the UK Government has for Scotland, and indeed for the Highlands. Our public services, infrastructure and tax policies all depend on clarity from the UK Government. Either the Tories don’t know or don’t care.

“This is an issue of major importance which goes well beyond politics or parliaments.

"It’s about people, who deserve a UK Government that actually cares about the Highlands and about Scotland.”

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