Ukraine fundraiser - 18 June 2024
Thursday 13 June 2024
 8.9°C   ESE Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Fighting Shetland’s corner

I have been relatively quiet in this pre-election period but there is one point which keeps cropping up (and not just in this election) that concerns me.

It often appears against a backdrop of people criticising the sustained budget cuts coming our way from Edinburgh, over 21.7 per cent since 2010 – the worst of all 32 local authorities.

This issue was raised in another letter last month by Ross Gazey (Worst deal of all? SN, 09/05/2017), which then received a reply from Gary Robinson explaining how we have fallen foul of an extremely complex COSLA funding formula which has seen us lose out in seven consecutive years, something the formula does not consider.

Some people blame the Scottish Government for this, some blame COSLA and some blame Westminster. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Whenever this argument is raised I hear people saying Shetland receives “double the national average funding per head” or some similar statement as if that makes everything OK.

This is a dangerous and simplistic rationale which, if followed, will always lead to rural areas being discriminated against in favour of more densely populated/urban areas. Of course it costs more to provide services to a scattering of small islands than it does to a town or city, an example of economies of scale.

Being from a rural area (Whalsay) within a rural area (Shetland) I also despair to see this same argument voiced whenever areas of rural Shetland claim they are not getting the right funding or investment.

It does not matter if a rural area is receiving more funding “per head” than a city in the central belt, if it is not sufficient to meet the needs of the area then it is not good enough.

Another aspect of this issue is that the “per head” funding argument is only one side of the coin. Rarely does it take into account the contribution of that area “per head” to the wider economy. Shetland is a perfect example of this.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

The most recent available data suggests that Shetland contributes more than double the national average to the economy “per head” than the average person in Scotland. Taking the argument to a local level the North Isles and North Mainland, mainly via the seafood sector, contribute much more than the average Shetlander does.

Given the above I was very disappointed to read of a candidate in the upcoming election dismiss the issue in this way. I very much hope whoever is elected to represent us does not subscribe to this “per head” mind set, it is neither fair nor will it help them fight Shetland’s corner.

Duncan Simpson
Councillor for North Isles ward
Whalsay

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.