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Trust must wait for budget bail out

SHETLAND Recreational Trust must wait before it hears whether its budget this year will be bailed out to the tune of £400,000.

Island councillors meeting as trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust on Thursday voted to defer a decision on handing over the cash to fill a black hole in the organisation’s budget.

Trustees were told that they as councillors were responsible for the budget problems after Shetland Islands Council’s services committee had reneged on an agreement to start paying for school children using the recreational trust’s leisure facilities.

Initially it appeared that the charitable trust would go ahead with the budget bail out, when trustees voted down a motion from councillor Jonathan Wills to refuse the payment.

Dr Wills claimed the payment would amount to a subsidy for a service which should be paid for by the council, something which Audit Scotland has frowned upon.

“We are going to cause a problem for the trust if we do this and I am very certain Audit Scotland will take an interest in this payment,” he said.

However councillor Betty Fullerton won the day when she suggested they defer the decision until they were certain how much of the £400,000 in question would be used for services which the council is obliged by law to provide, such as physical education.

“A lot of what we provide is above what we need to. I have no problem supporting what is above statutory provision, but they key is whether this is statutory or non statutory,” Mrs Fullerton said.

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