Tory opposition councillors are asking Highland Council to hold off from setting its budget for 2020/21 until the delayed UK government settlement has been announced.
They say it could mean the council imposing needless multi-million cuts if the settlement is better than expected, or having to cut even more than expected if it is worse.
Due to the general election, the UK government is delaying announcing its settlement for the country’s regions, which in turn influences when the Scottish Government announces its budget for local authorities, normally in early February.
Tory group leader, councillor Andrew Jarvie, said: “The earliest we will know our budget now will be the end of February or early March, but we will be setting our budget in mid-February before the Scottish Government has had time to crunch through the figures.
“The budget leader could at least make a commitment that the budget could be delayed until we have some more certainty around numbers.”
Highland Council’s budget leader councillor Alister Mackinnon said: “The timing of the UK and the Scottish budget settlements are being discussed by the council’s budget team.
“It is presenting a challenge, but we are confident that we can overcome this and set a balanced budget for the council at the correct time.”
SNP opposition group joint leader Ian Cockburn dismissed Mr Jarvie’s concerns.
He said: “These should be addressed to his own Conservative government in Westminster as this is a problem it has created.”