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Young people asked their opinions on Highland Council's budget

Issued: 28 Jun 2010

Highland Youth Voice, the elected youth parliament for the Highlands recently met for their summer conference and was invited to take part in the Highland Council's discussions on the budget.

The young people were joined by Council Chief Executive Alistair Dodds, Budget Leader David Alston, Convener Sandy Park and Director of Finance, Alan Geddes to discuss the budget proposals.

Highland Youth Convener Magnus Monahan said: "This was my 8th and final Youth Voice conference and I'm particularly pleased the budget consultation team came to find out young people's views on the difficult decisions facing the Highland Council."

The session included a presentation explaining the challenges ahead, group work on views and ideas around the proposed savings, a question and answer session and an electronic survey on the important questions. These findings will then be collated along with the other results from the ward forums, the budget blog and citizens panel so that an informed decision can be made in the autumn of 2010.

Siobhan McCulloch Chair of Highland Youth Voice said: "We know cuts have to be made but we want them made in the right places."

Leah Burns a Highland Voice representative from Lochaber High School said: "On the proposal to remove the Eden Court dance and drama course, how can the council justify this when it contradicts the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence, which says that attainment and achievement should be on an equal level and for a lot of people these courses are achievement and the removal of this will make it harder for the less
academic pupils."

Highland Council Budget leader David Alston stressed that no decisions had been made and welcomed the fact that members of Youth Voice had expressed their views in a clear and forthright way, which would help councillors to make informed decisions in the autumn, when he hoped the
budget for the next two years would be decided on.

Highland Youth Voice is managed by The Highland Council Youth team and gives young people a chance to have their say and meet decision-makers.
When they return to their local areas the members will pass on information about the conference and the issues discussed to other young people in their schools, youth groups and community meetings.

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme