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Candidates / Alastair Cooper

Alastair Cooper
Alastair Cooper
Independent
Shetland North

About me

I live in Mossbank and worked for the Council for 40 years, retiring in 2007. I spent 12 years managing the finance function for the Council’s ports operation and the last 17 mainly pursuing economic development opportunities.

I have served on the Delting Community Council for 34 years, the last 31 as Chairman. I believe my experience and contacts in the Council equips me well for the role of Councillor.

The new Council will have a tough term with significant financial challenges but there are opportunities which must be grasped to secure a better long term future for the area.

Council finances

The new Council has to reduce expenditure so that we only draw from reserves the income it generates in the year. We cannot go on as we have done for the past 10 years drawing from the capital sum.

The new Council’s first task will be to consider 56 budget reduction proposals worth £5.6 million and then quickly go on to set budget parameters for the following five years. We cannot afford policy on the hoof given our serious financial state. It has to be steady as she goes.

Jobs

Our traditional industries need to be allowed to grow and assisted in producing a high quality product. The seafood sector now generates over £300 million in the Shetland economy and is a significant employer in the North Ward. I will support the Council’s continued support for this industry to ensure its product development and quality control is enhanced.

The north mainland has considerable scope to enhance tourism spend in the area and must be encouraged. I would support any private sector effort to generate new tourism income in the area.

The Council needs to encourage Chevron to bring its gas through Sullom Voe. BP and the Council likewise must work hard to keep Schiehallion after the initial start up phase in 2016. The Council has to resolve issues with the two new tugs and bring them into service.

Education

I believe education has to be delivered to the highest standard. The Council has once again decided to review the school estate to identify economies.

I accept the need for economies but knowing the quality and educational attainment in the North Ward it justifies the retention of all the schools unless the parents decide otherwise. I will vote accordingly.

Social Care

Shetland faces a challenge with an increasing elderly population and reduced funding for service provision. We have to get better value from the limited resources available.

I do not support the current proposal for the revision of the day care service. Likewise I am concerned that dementia care may be delivered in a way which is already causing concern in the community. We have to economise but it must be done with client understanding and support.

Transport

As part of the search for economies bus services will come under scrutiny. I would not vote for any reduction of service in our area unless the passenger numbers do not justify the route.

In any review I would be looking for the service to be more responsive to the needs of youth, social, cultural and recreational activity in the north mainland.

The North Isles Ferry Contract should have been announced by now. Hearing nothing is worrying especially when our seafood exports depend so heavily on reliable daily sailings. The refit problems this spring must not be repeated. The Council must urgently get clarity on the service level.

Telecommunications

The new Council is committed to deliver fibre optic high speed broadband to Nesting, Lunnasting and Delting in the next two years. I will work hard to extend the provision to Northmavine.

Additionally I believe it will be possible to enhance mobile coverage over the area in the next five years.

Renewables

The likelihood of an interconnector to the Scottish mainland offers the challenge of securing wave and tidal projects to take up the spare capacity. The development work would create some very well paid jobs and ultimately Shetland could become a centre of excellence for full scale production models.

The North Ward has many sites which could be so developed, but Mossbank in particular could become a centre for tidal technology given the vast resources in Yell Sound and the close proximity to robust grid connections.

Housing

Sustainable communities need young folk and they need affordable housing. Accordingly I would push hard for both public and private housing being built in the area.

I have time, drive and enthusiasm and if elected will use my experience to fight for the north mainland. Make me your Number 1 choice and I will do everything within my ability to repay your trust.

Contact details

Phone 01806 242468
Mobile 07990 540708
Email alindo@btinternet.com

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General Election - 12 December 2019