Highland Council to consider summit aimed at writing off £205m housing debt

Margaret Davidson

Margaret Davidson

The Highland Council is to consider inviting politicians from both sides of the Border to attend a summit aimed at writing-off the region’s £205 million housing debt.

A significant element of the housing debt, loans taken out by the local authority to build and improve council housing, relates to historic debt inherited from former district councils at local government reorganisation in the 1990s, associated with council house building programmed to support local economic development in the hydro and oil industries.

A motion signed by council leader Margaret Davidson and seven independent group colleagues will go before today’s full council meeting and will seek support for the idea of writing it off from UK and Scottish government ministers as well as Highland MPs and MSPs.

Councillor Davidson said: “We believe that the only way to progress the relief of the Highland’s Housing Debt is to get people round the table. So I will be asking for the Council’s support to invite UK and Scottish Government Ministers and Highland MPs and MSPs to a summit on Highland’s Housing Debt in order to promote the benefits of debt write-off for Highland Council tenants, the Highland and Scottish economy.

“We have already seen cooperation between the UK government and Scottish Government resulting in £20m housing debt write-off for Shetland Islands. We think that many of the economic drivers for that deal could equally apply to Highland.”