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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met this week to consider its 2021/22 Budget.
Recommendations before the Policy and Resources Committee include retaining Council Tax for the Western Isles at the 2020/21 level of £1,193.49 at Band D, the lowest in Scotland.
The Budget Strategy report highlights a cash increase in the settlement for cores services of £0.8m but a number of uncertainties which may yet impact on the Comhairle’s finances, including future pay awards and costs arising from the COVID pandemic.
The Comhairle has prepared for the 2021/22 Settlement by developing and agreeing, in December 2020, Business Plans which aim to deliver savings of £2.338m in 2021/22 and £1.170m in 2022/23. Implementing these agreed savings is critical to the budget for the next two years.
The business planning, together with the growth in the Settlement, the prudent management of budgets throughout 2020/21 and the measured use of balances means that the Comhairle can agree its revenue budget for 2021/22 without recourse to further savings.
Leader of the Comhairle Roddie Mackay said: ‘These are very challenging times but our previous work has left us in a better position than we might have been in.
‘There remain significant uncertainties ahead and we will continue to adopt a cautious and prudent management towards the finances of the Comhairle.’