Highland Council agrees £54m financial plan for schools investment

Highland Council agrees £54m financial plan for schools investment

A financial plan which will invest £54 million of capital investment in schools and a further £10m across a range of projects in phase 2 of the investment strategy for health and prosperity has been agreed by Highland Council.

The detailed designs and costings for the five schools identified for investment will be brought to council in September for approval. The plans include medium term financial sustainability with £24.7m unearmarked reserves set aside to manage any future risk and uncertainty.

In March, £9.8m funding was agreed for a range of projects in an economic prosperity fund, a Visitor Management Plan and place based investment.

An additional investment of £5.5m across a number of schemes will be made during 2021/22 in phase 2 of the council’s Health and Prosperity Plan.

Phase 2 will see £0.3m invested in addressing poverty, £0.4m for improvements in Burials and Cremations, £1.250m in match-funding for carbon reduction schemes, £0.8m for ICT to enable new ways of working and £0.05m towards Eden Court redevelopment.

A further £3.5m in a third phase in the autumn. The indicative proposals for Phase 3 of the investment will be followed by detailed bids to come forward to Council in October.

Phases 2 and 3 of the investment plan will see a further investment of £10.6m in roads and the Corran Ferry.

This will bring the total spend on roads infrastructure to over £20m per annum for a two year period.

Leader of the council, Cllr Margaret Davidson, said: “I wish to thank senior officers for the tremendous work over the past year in bringing the Council, in the most challenging times, into a more resilient financial position which enables us to be able to make these substantial investments.

“We are well aware that we will need to make recurring savings in the years ahead. Our investment plans take into account the need for continuing medium term financial sustainability and ensuring we have sufficient non ear-marked Reserves to mitigate against future risks and uncertainty, whilst investing in Recovery.”

Depute leader, Cllr Alasdair Christie, added: “We agreed a Health and Prosperity Plan to take us through recovery from the impacts of Covid on individuals, families, communities and businesses across the Highlands. The aim is to stimulate and breathe life into our economy.

“We agreed £9.8m of investment in March and today’s decision will see a further £10M invested in a second phase of schemes, and heralds investment ahead of almost £10m more in the autumn.

“This together with approved capital investment in schools will have a direct, positive and lasting impact on Highland communities.”

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