Highland Council now led by Independents

Highland Council: Independents Group-led after SNP collapse. Picture: Jane Barlow
Highland Council: Independents Group-led after SNP collapse. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A NEW administration has been formed to lead Highland Council after an SNP-led coalition collapsed last week.

The local authority will now be led by a minority administration of the Independent Group.

The Liberal Democrats unexpectedly quit the SNP/Lib-Dem/Labour coalition after claiming they could no longer work with the nationalists.

This came just days after the Councillor Drew Hendry of the SNP resigned as leader as he had been elected to the UK Parliament.

The Lib-Dems had been expected to join forces with the Independent Group, but surprisingly the independents decided to run the administration alone, but with the promise of SNP support.

The new council leader was elected as Margaret Davidson, with the convener becoming councillor Isobel McCallum.

The top jobs in the strategic committees mainly went to Independent councillors, with some going to SNP members.

Councillor Davidson, after the formation of the new administration, said: “We are on the brink of an exciting time for the Highlands.

“We are an Independent Administration and whilst we may be a minority Administration, this is not unusual across Scotland.

“Our aim is to work collaboratively with other members to achieve the best outcomes for the Highlands.”

She claimed that the council will not be bound by party politics.

She added: “We intend to take a fresh look at community planning with a renewed emphasis on empowerment.

“We want to work in partnership with our communities and provide them with real local decision making powers.

“This is a particularly challenging time for Local Authority budgets and we will take a fresh look at where we can best deliver value for money.

“Our strategic priorities include a programme of investment in our roads, which I believe will be widely welcomed across the Highlands.

“We will work with our partners in NHS Highland to review of the Partnership agreement and place a renewed emphasis on Shifting the Balance of Care into the community.

Councillor Davidson added: “Those who know me will know that I will do my very best to promote the interests of the Highlands and I am committed to leading an Administration that serves our communities and delivers real local power across the region.”