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Highland Council expects to end the year in the black after worst case scenario deficit projections drop by £100 million thanks to government funding and budget controls

By Scott Maclennan

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Highland Council expects a budget surplus by the end of the financial year of £3.1 million.

The improved position comes despite the difficulties of economic planning during the Covid pandemic.

At one point last year, there were fears the local authority could be facing a deficit of up to £97 million.

That had since reduced to £8.7 million.

According to a report going to the council’s corporate resources committee on Thursday, the further improvement is down to strict financial controls and increased government support.

The council is due to reveal its budget for 2021-22 on Thursday.

Head of corporate finance, Edward Foster, said: “The improved position reflects the positive financial management that has been taking place throughout the council, the additional funding coming in to the council and a better understanding of the financial impact of Covid-19.”

Deputy council leader Alasdair Christie said: “I think as the year has progressed and additional funding has been made available by the UK and Scottish governments, along with the council being able to manage its resources and plan accordingly as a consequence, the outturn results are quite favourable.

“It will place us in a good position as we set the budget for the forthcoming year.”

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