CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Candidates / George Smith

George Smith
George Smith
Shetland South

About me

I was born in Shetland and returned to Sandwick in 1979, having spent 10 years in Edinburgh, during which I graduated from the University of Edinburgh.

I worked for Shetland Islands Council for nearly 30 years before taking early retirement in February 2011.

I thoroughly enjoyed being the South Mainland and Fair Isle Community Worker early in my career. These were fun times and my work brought me into contact with numerous volunteers and community activists all working hard to improve the quality of life in their communities.

It was a real privilege to help support the voluntary sector and, if elected, I would wish to continue helping and valuing what I see as the life blood of our communities.

After nearly 25 years working in Community Development (or Leisure and Recreation to many of you!) I had the good fortune to be appointed as Director of Shetland College. This brought me into contact with the many students– young and older– looking to improve their work prospects through study.

Again I can only applaud the huge commitment and dedication shown and it was really encouraging to see so many students achieve their potential and get their reward.

I am married to Angela and we have two grown-up children who are working in the Parliaments in Brussels and Edinburgh.

I am currently a member of Sandwick Community Council and I am an independent member of Shetland Football Association.

I volunteer at Sandwick Social Club and have generally been involved in sport and community activities most of my life.

Why vote for me

I am passionate about South Shetland and I have real practical experience of how the Council works, or more importantly how it doesn’t work.

I will listen carefully to what you have to say, respect your views, gather all the necessary facts and argue with conviction for sensible decisions. I will fight for what is best for South Shetland and Shetland as a whole.

I believe that the new council needs to show leadership while protecting services to our most vulnerable – young people and the elderly and those with additional needs.

The council must be a “listening” council respecting the views of the community and making responsible and reasonable decisions which reflect that.

I believe I have the skills and knowledge required to ensure that the new council behaves in a proper way and regains the trust of the people of Shetland and beyond.

If elected I will work tirelessly for my constituents and be accessible to all who want to contact me.

Key priorities

The new Council must quickly get to grips with the Council budget. This will require careful scrutiny of where and on what all the available money is being spent. Only through this, and by asking searching questions, can any informed position be reached about proposed cuts to services.

I would want to see a proper economic and social impact assessment outlining the effects of any cut before any decision to implement such a cut is considered. I would not support cuts which would adversely affect the more vulnerable members of our community.

Education requires a period of consolidation where the emphasis is on improving quality and ensuring an effective implementation of Curriculum for Excellence. We have first class schools with very committed and talented staff. We need to support and trust them to get on with the job.

It now seems likely that the Viking Windfarm will go ahead. I would want to understand fully the business plan setting out the required investment from Shetland sources and the financial benefits to be accrued. Any financial benefits accruing to Shetland must be used wisely – for example tackling the huge fuel poverty issues affecting and likely to affect many people throughout Shetland.

The Council must regain the trust and respect of the community. It can do this by demonstrating that it has an understanding of the issues facing Shetland, a properly costed plan to address this and a willingness to work together to deliver the plan.

There has to be an openness and accountability about the new council and a willingness to listen to what communities are saying and to act on that. The Council must show leadership.

High speed broadband for the whole of Shetland will be transformational in the way that people can communicate and work. We must secure this as a priority as it will do much to allow rural communities to sustain and develop.

Contact details
Phone 01950 431322
Mobile 07810 396772


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