Highland Council chiefs have admitted they cannot afford to build five new care homes planned for the region.
Margaret Davidson, who chairs the council's social work committee, said the £30m needed to meet the commitment was not available.
The council's ruling administration is set to recommend the plan is abandoned when councillors meet later this month.
New care homes had been planned for Fort William, Grantown-on-Spey, Inverness, Muir of Ord and Tain.
Ms Davidson said that existing homes such as Ach an Eas at Inverness and Grantown were still fundamentally sound and could be kept open.
She said: "We just don't feel that we can spend this money with the revenue consequences that it would mean."
She added: "When I visited the five care homes a week or so ago with the convener, there wasn't one person who said to me they wanted us to build a new care home.
"They wanted to keep what they'd got - the homes they've got and the staff group that they've got."
However, Lochaber councillor Donald Cameron said the administration also needed to keep Fort William's Invernevis home operating.
He said: "There is no reason why Invernevis can't continue. In five years time or so when the financial situation is better and the bankers have paid their money back to the public purse, we can improve the facilities that are there.
"In the meantime we must retain the 24 local authority beds in Lochaber."
Councillors are due to meet to decide on the care home plans on 24 June.