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Video released to explain impact of Covid-19 on Highland Council budget


By Gregor White

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Budget leader Alister Mackinnon.
Budget leader Alister Mackinnon.

An online video launched by Highland Council attempts to explain the impact of coronavirus on council finances.

Updated financial modelling was presented to a meeting of Highland Council today.

Previous budget scenarios were identified by the council during the lockdown period, with no definitive indication of how long this would continue and whether or not future lockdowns would occur.

An updated scenario based on a continued positive progression out of lockdown forecasts a budget gap of £47.7 million is now forecast, before additional government funding is applied.

The application of confirmed government funding reduces the gap to £35.7m.

"It is important to remember however that we remain in very uncertain times."

Budget leader Alister Mackinnon said: "At this stage, it still remains incredibly difficult to fully assess the impact of Covid-19 on the council’s budget, and we will continue to update our assessment as the ongoing situation develops and further information is received.

"Whilst the figures have improved from those reported previously, any adverse setbacks in the route map out of lockdown will likely widen the anticipated budget gap.

"We intend to reduce the potential financial impact further by actions to control Covid response spend, by reprioritising existing resources, controlling ongoing expenditure and reassessment of cost pressures.

"It is important to remember however that we remain in very uncertain times."

The video can be viewed here

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