The Highland Council has reported a successful year end position for 2019-20 delivering £18M of a 3-year savings plan and an underspend of £7.526m.
The Council’s unearmarked reserves, which act as a general contingency against unforeseen events or to meet unbudgeted costs, stand at £15.451M at 31 March 2020, having almost doubled over the year due to the in-year budget surplus.
The year-end position was considerably improved from the quarter 3 forecast.
Chair of Corporate Resources, Alister Mackinnon praised all staff for delivering the savings. He said:
“The key drivers behind the positive year-end position are improved governance, further reductions in overspend, and robust management of all budgets.
“Rigorous approaches to financial governance are improving compliance and adherence to policy linked to budget spend across services.
“I want to thank the Chief Executive and her team and all staff for the part they have played in this very successful turnaround in the Council’s financial position.”
“The raised levels of Reserves are critical to our financial sustainability.
“The year ahead, in which we are facing an unprecedented in-year financial deficit, is extremely challenging, however the improved financial position and new governance measures have given us a much stronger foundation from which to rebuild.”