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Rural costs hit Highland

HIGHLAND has backed cuts of up to pound;1 million to keep education spending within budget after pressures on key areas such as special needs and transport.

Andy Anderson, the council's education convener, said the sums allocated by the Scottish Executive failed to match the reality in rural areas.

"In transport we are given pound;4 million, but the actual cost is pound;8 million. In special educational needs, we are pound;5 million over the figure for GAE (grant-aided expenditure)," Mr Anderson said. Transport bills could rise by a further 14 per cent from January once contracts are renewed.

The authority is moving over pound;500,000 from the Executive-promoted Excellence Fund into revenue to offset costs.

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