Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Several Highland villages may not get a public Christmas tree this year amid rising costs

Community Councillor, David McGrath pictured outside Smithton Community Hall.
Community Councillor, David McGrath pictured outside Smithton Community Hall.

Highland Council “Scrooges” have been accused of pricing some community councils out of buying a Christmas tree by slashing their grants and asking for payment for the tree.

This comes after it emerged that 15 villages that traditionally were given trees for free by the local authority would not now be receiving them this year because the supplier had run out.

Commercial options were deemed too expensive and community councils across the region have been told to find alternatives – and now those who already paid for trees say they cannot afford them.

Smithton and Culloden community council chairman David McGrath claimed the cost of two trees was the equivalent of 70% of their annual budget and making it too expensive.

He said: “Highland Council, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to reduce grant funding by between half and two thirds but they still expect you to pay for Christmas trees.

“As most community council are getting so little for a whole year, £400 for just a few weeks a year is a very high price to pay albeit for something that really enhances the community in the festive period.”


>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter


Mr McGrath added: “We used to get two trees, one for Smithton and one for Culloden, but at the cost they are charging now we will have to refuse. I suppose we will just have to get a smaller tree.”

Highland Council budget leader Alister Mackinnon said: “So far as I am aware the vast majority of community councils source their own Christmas trees and always have done and will continue to do so.”

Cradlehall and Westhill community council together with Highland Councillor Duncan Macpherson came up with a solution by deciding to hang lights on a free standing fir tree at Cradlehall Care Home.

Others like Dingwall have always had to provide their own tree and this year relied on a Fire Brigade Club donation for one natural tree and then asked Nigg Welding Academy to construct a metal frame shaped like a tree that will be adorned with lights.

George Murray from Dingwall community council said: “As far as I’m aware, we’ve never asked for help from the Highland Council for the tree and this year the Council have agreed to test the cable attachments and put up the Christmas lights for free although this will be the last year they do so without a charge.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]