|Candidate Name||Ian Scott|
|Electoral Ward||Shetland Central|
|Description (if any)|
My name is Ian Scott and I am asking you to vote for me in the forthcoming election. I was born in 1954 in Perthshire, went to school there and studied at the Edinburgh College of Art for five years. I came to Shetland in 1982 and have lived in Scalloway ever since.
Firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this. Wherever we live in the Central Ward, I believe that most of us face similar problems, and those problems stem directly from our council’s determination to introduce swingeing cuts in its delivery of services.
This is the overwhelming issue that confronts us today.
- Our schools are at risk, and after the Scalloway secondary’s closure, we must ensure that all communities retain their schools;
- Our services for the elderly are at risk. Our social care and services for the vulnerable have to be protected.
Everywhere we look we are told there are no alternatives to the cuts. Of course there are. Our oil revenues are the envy of every local authority in Scotland and as such must be used to protect our services and our jobs – essentially protecting our futures. The very people who are pushing for these cuts are the very people who do not have to bear them. George Osborne being the prime example.
Of course local issues have to be addressed, but unquestionably it is our economic health that determines our approach. We have £350 million, yes £350 million in our reserves.
Therefore, I propose that we create a sustained house building programme –decent houses with decent gardens at affordable rents. This would presuppose an SIC led apprenticeship scheme to give our young people, not only the skills they need, but also the houses they need to live in. This means that all youngsters leaving school will have an opportunity to train for their future.
This takes money – we have money. We need to spend it if we are going to prosper. We saw what happened in the 1980s and ‘90s; enormous amounts of oil revenues flowing into the government’s coffers, but cynically used to create an industrial and economic desert.
We need to give our people secure employment, decent wages, and good working conditions and in this way we fashion a prosperous community. Our oil revenues are precisely for this kind of crisis, a buffer to protect us from Westminster’s savagery.
This is how our reserves should be used. We should introduce a 10 year programme to provide decent houses, good care homes and a comprehensive apprenticeship scheme and these initiatives will themselves provide other opportunities. Pre-school and nursery provision comes to mind.
This is the brutal reality. This is what we are faced with. We elect councillors who will meet in secret session and argue the toss over which school gets closed … the North Isles versus the South Mainland, the Central Ward against the Westside and everyone against Lerwick.
Or we can take a good hard look at the potential and possibilities of a vibrant future. But firstly because we are getting nothing from Westminster but austerity, we have to put our faith in the future and allocate monies from our Reserve Fund. There is no alternative.
And to those people who say, “What about the future” the answer is very simple. There will be no future unless we act now.
And to those people who say that councillors and politicians are in it for themselves, to enhance their salaries and pensions etc. etc…. not everyone is like that.
We have to release our funds for the future.
As a council, we can sit down as a rational, intelligent body with our officials and plan a strategy for the next 10 years. We preserve our services, we build our care homes, we retain our schools and we ensure a viable future, and this can only be done by using a considered part of our Reserve Fund. And as such the Shetland Charitable Trust has to play its full part.
We don’t need to be arguing amongst ourselves for the foreseeable future about whose toilet is going to be closed, or what bit of road gets mended first. We have the finance … all we need now is the will.
With all the above in mind I do believe that there is a fairer more inclusive way to a prosperous Shetland.
Mobile: 07785 305287