A raft of popular community projects would not have materialised if tough new spending rules had been applied sooner by Highland Council, it has been claimed.
The opposition SNP group has based the warning on fresh rules to be considered at tomorrow’s resources committee meeting in Inverness.
Councillors will consider a 25% cap on the amount of funding organisations apply for to help with their individual projects.
Such money comes from a discretionary fund within the council’s wider capital budget.
SNP group deputy leader Richard Laird warned that the proposed limit would have seriously hampered applicants who previously benefited.
Among projects and organisations that would have missed out, he says, are the Merkinch Welfare Hall and community centre, the tourism trail for south Loch Ness, Cromarty Harbour Trust, the Highland Football Academy, the Ross and Cromarty Citizens Advice Bureau and Poolewe swimming pool.
Some initiatives, such as the football academy, successfully secured the full £75,000 cost of a synthetic pitch.
Mr Laird said: “A lot of these projects would not happen today. They come to the council because there’s no other source of funding and such proposals would, in future, be put in jeopardy.”
Budget leader Bill Fernie doubted that the proposed new limit would deter groups from applying.
“I think it will simply regularise the rules so everybody’s on the same level,” he said.
“Previously, I don’t think there really was a criteria. Everything was looked at individually on its merits. With money getting tighter, we’re just looking for a level playing field when people apply for money.”
Mr Laird has, meanwhile, congratulated the authority for acting on a pledge to protect the jobs of key staff in the aftermath of £50million of budget cuts in a single year.
He said: “I’m pleased the council listened to the public and the SNP group when we asked for frontline staff to be protected.”