A new council administration, led by a group of independent councillors, means a new set of priorities. That’s only right, as those councillors will want a different emphasis, compared to the previous SNP, Lib Dem and Labour coalition. Yet, I remain deeply underwhelmed by the 62-point programme presented to councillors this week. Instead of concentrating on the key services residents expect from Highland Council, the new leaders seem to want to spend most of their time lobbying the Scottish and UK Government about various issues. What do we elect our MPs and MSPs for, if it’s not to lobby ministers about issues affecting the Highlands? We don’t need to be using the council to duplicate that work as well. We should be making sure we deliver a balanced budget, whilst maintaining frontline services like regular bin collections, maintaining our roads and keeping rural schools open.
Today’s council meeting was a monumental waste of councillors time, and more importantly taxpayers money. Councillors were dragged to Inverness to be told the document wasn’t finished, and we would discuss it again in only three weeks time. A special meeting had been unnecessarily convened for this purpose. Even a conservative estimate would suggest that councillors accommodation and travel expenses would be over £2000, but I suspect it is considerably more. What a waste of money.