Yet again, like many of my constituents, I find myself at 'budget time' disappointed that the Highlands have been dealt another blow by the Scottish Government in choosing to neglect Councils and front line community service in this year’s Scottish local authority settlement.
The Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has asked Councils to provide the same services for less this year, whilst introducing further ring-fenced budgets which we cannot control.
‘The Highland Council has a £30million gap to balance this February’ - Press and Journal, Jan 2019.
Many of you will have seen the Green deal across the national media, with the Green party backing the SNPs budget for the third successive year. Although the settlement is an improvement on Derek Mackay’s original proposal, The Highland Council, COSLA and the Scottish Parliaments own Library show that we are still faced with a real terms cut in funding. A direct outcome from a budget backed only by the Green Party and the SNP.
The budget will also bring forward three tax hits to Highland residents;
- A broken promise to cap Council tax (lifting the limit above 3%)
- A broken promise to implement a tourist tax
- The introduction of new workplace levy which will see private car parking spaces charged
Me and my Highland Conservative colleagues will fight against cuts to frontline services this February when the Council sets it budget and oppose unnecessary taxation that will hit hard working people and our vital tourism sector in the pocket.
But I also wish to hear your views and thoughts on the SNP / Green deal and what it will mean for your community?
Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me via my facebook page.
Cllr Struan Mackie