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Local Government Election 2012 / Caroline Miller

caroline miller
Caroline Miller
Independent
Lerwick North

“Shetland Isles have the best quality of life of any rural area in Scotland” (Bank of Scotland survey)

Why am I standing for re-election as a Councillor for Lerwick North?

I would like to have the opportunity to work with a focused team of Councillors, using the experience I’ve gained over the past five years to deliver the services required to make a real difference to the quality of Shetlanders’ lives.

Shetland is facing significant challenges over the next five years. We must stop relying on Shetland’s reserves to balance the books, which means tough choices and prioritisation/redesign of services. Plan for the future and match all our resources accordingly.

To do this, all Councillors must work with all stakeholders to achieve the best we can for everyone. Private sector, voluntary sector, other public sector bodies, unions, officers, councillors, and YOU – we all have a part to play.

And we have everything to play for!

Shetland’s unique location and surrounding natural resources has transformed Shetland over the past 30 years – but the future holds even more opportunities for economic growth plus additional income streams for the Council and the Shetland Charitable Trust.

New oil and gas fields from the West side of Shetland, renewable energy (wind, wave and tidal), decommissioning along with our buoyant aquaculture and traditional industries, carefully planned, supported and maximised, will ensure a prosperous future for Shetland.

Lessons learned!

Work in partnership – work together.

Build on expertise gained through negotiations with the oil and gas industries to ensure the best possible return for Shetland from all emerging industries.

Use only interest earned, not capital funds, thus ensuring sustainable services and growth where proven necessary. Always apply for external/additional funding where practical.
What is important to you?

You have told me that transport, housing, education, care for the most vulnerable, economy/jobs, cost of fuel, equality of opportunity and social exclusion are your priorities.
How to deliver and make things better!

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Transport: Continue to build a fit for purpose, integrated, affordable transport system which ensures Shetlanders can live and work where they chose. Where our children and elderly can access facilities and where inequality of opportunity and social exclusion for lack of transport is no longer an issue. Do not charge pensioner’s fares on ferries, buses are subsidised from Holyrood for the over 60s- so should ferries!

Housing: The Council is committed to build 20 houses at Hoofields and 10 in Brae. However, the last action of the Council was to approve a bridging loan for Hjaltland Housing to enable a further 63 houses in Shetland to be built. This type of partnership working must be expanded to include private developers. If the Council can’t afford to build more houses it must look at ways to enable others.

Education: Shetland has 32 schools with average 50% occupancy. We spend substantially more on education than we received in grant funding. The Council has requested a complete review of Education with a remit to save £3m over the next two years. Implications of rationalising the school estate and cutting secondary courses must be reviewed in full. Priority must be given to maintaining our high standard of education thus ensuring the best opportunities for our children’s futures.

Care: We are moving away from residential care to supporting our most vulnerable at home. However we must ensure that homes are warm, comfortable and safe. Loneliness is as devastating as illness in some cases and we must ensure that facilities such as Freefield are utilised and supported to the full. Our priority for the future must be to help those less able to help themselves.

Cost of Fuel

Support research and development into alternatives such as hydrogen – Shetland is ideal for electrical vehicle usage. Make eradication of fuel poverty by 2016 a priority.
Use the independence debate as leverage for greater reduction in duty – Who needs who?

Who am I?

Born in Shetland in 1957 I moved with my husband and sons to Bressay in 1980.
I was a partner in Clive’s Record Shop until last year and have experience in property development and management.

Experience gained over the last five years.

Following the restructuring of the Council last year I was elected as Vice Chair of Education and Families.

I am a Trustee of the Lerwick Port Authority and of the Shetland Charitable Trust.

I am a Director of Viking Energy and Shetland Leasing and Property Ltd.

The above positions have given me valuable insight into education, decommissioning, renewable energy, property and infrastructure development and the value these have to our economy and to our future.

What I have learned!

To listen is the only way to represent.

Working in partnership and as a team is the way only way forward.

You can’t please everyone but keep trying through informed debate.

Let’s do even better by:

Working together to plan and build an even better future with sustainable growth and equal opportunities for all. Where poverty and social exclusion are blights of the past

Contact details:
Phone 01595 820271
Mobile 07825 088919
Email carolinemiller57@gmail.com

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