|Candidate Name||Andrea Isabel Manson|
|Electoral Ward||Shetland North|
|Description (if any)|
I can hardly believe that it is five years since we were last at the polling stations. It has been a five year term of hard work and many days and nights of head and heart searching as we 22 Councillors have battled to save the high quality services that the Shetland folk have and, rightly, now come to expect.
I have no illusions about increasing the services or improving the services – just to keep the service at the current level till times improve will be a bonus.
The council has been prudent and while the savings we have made have had some impact on local services and the local economy, we have not only succeeded in getting spending under better control and clearing up some of the mess left by the previous councils but we have, amazingly, finished the five year term with a reserve fund almost doubled in size to over £310 million.
There is no doubt that the question of school closures will rear its ugly head again early in the new council. I remain totally committed to keeping rural schools open.
The council seek, on a regular basis, to get extra assistance for running our inter island ferries. There have been broken promises from the Scottish Government and this very necessary lifeline service is funded by the council and continues to receive high priority.
The spending on ferries is a significant part of our budget and a cost that other local authorities do not have to bear. We need extra funding – not empty promises.
The current NorthLink contract is out to tender and I do sincerely hope that the Scottish Government’s pledge to reduce the fares under the new contract is honoured. The folk of Shetland need this now – two years have already passed…
I will strive to make the next council even more open and accountable as the last. There were too many seminars and forums to discuss important issues and not enough debate in public. We must change that in the next council.
I am a proud supporter of Wir Shetland, a pressure group aimed at achieving more autonomy for Shetland. I stand as an Independent as Wir Shetland is not a registered political party so I cannot stand under a Wir Shetland banner. I believe that more autonomy is the way ahead as Shetland is unfairly targeted by the Scottish government to force Shetland into spending the reserve funds.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, I do have the time, motivation and interest in Shetland’s wellbeing and future and will do my very best for you should I be lucky enough to receive your support on 4th May.
I am not doing this for me – I will be doing it for you. It can be a pretty thankless task on occasions and I will go into another term as your councillor with enthusiasm, a positive attitude and the full support of my colleagues and family.
Phone: 01806 503372