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Budget consultation meeting at Fort William

Issued: 19 May 2010

The Highland Council continues its budget consultation at a meeting of its Joint Lochaber Ward Forum on Monday 31 May.

The meeting, the fourth in a series of 14 public consultations, is being held at the Nevis Centre, Fort William, and begins at 7 pm In the chair will be

The theme of the meeting is "The implications of the budget for The Highland Council" and in attendance to outline the challenges and respond to questions will be Budget Leader David Alston, Chief Executive, Alistair Dodds, and Depute Chief Executive and Director of Finance, Alan Geddes.

They will highlight that having already identified savings of £24 million, they still need to bridge a gap of £36 million in 2011-12 and 2012-13.

A budget briefing document has been produced to support the exercise. It sets out the challenges facing the council and poses some key budget questions.

The consultation will run until the end of June and the Council aims to make decisions on the budget savings in the autumn of this year. In addition, a new Citizens' Panel is being asked for its views. More than 2,000 people have indicated a willingness to take part.

Council staff and trade unions will continue to be encouraged to identify where savings can be made.

Councillor Alston said: "We want to engage with as wide an audience as possible in setting out the unprecedented budget challenges we will face over the coming years and to listen to what the public have to say about the options we will be presenting."

In order to get the most out of these meetings, there will be several group discussions. Due to this format, the maximum number which can be accommodated is around 100 per meeting. To effectively manage this, anyone interested in attending the meeting should contact the Council by phoning Ellen Morrison on 01397 707231 or by e-mail to: ellen.morrison@highland.gov.uk or write to Chief Executive's Office, Lochaber House, High Street, Fort William PH33 6EL giving name, address and telephone number.

Tickets can either be collected at Lochaber House or can be posted out, thus ensuring entry to the meeting. If the demand is greater than 100, further meetings will be held.

The consultation is being held on Monday 31st May 2010 in the Nevis Centre, Fort William at 7pm (tea/coffee etc will be available from 6.30pm).

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