UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Tuesday 16 July 2024
 11.5°C   WSW Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Brexit / Council on high alert for ‘no deal’ Brexit

BREXIT and replacement of council infrastructure have both been identified as “very high” risks by Shetland Islands Council.

According to SIC chief executive Maggie Sandison, officials have been planning around a “no deal Brexit” for some time, but the shape of Britain’s exit from Europe, which is scheduled for the end of this month, is not absolutely cast in stone.

She warned that although trade deals have yet to emerge, there is a more certain gap looming in funding between EU provisions coming to an end and replacement UK measures being introduced.

“We have planned for a worst case scenario and anything that’s better than that would mean the consequences [have to be] mitigated less,” she told a meeting of the SIC Policy and Resources Committee on Tuesday.

“The biggest issue for us at the moment is we are likely to see a gap and it is not clear what will happen when money schemes here have not been set up, i.e. a LEADER [fund] replacement. We need to find out what money schemes they will support.”

The council’s revised corporate risk register identifies Brexit and infrastructure maintenance and renewal, including ferries, as “very high risk”.

A report considered by policy and resources says: “EU exit, is to a large extent outwith the council’s control.

“However, it is important that it is kept under review and that consideration is given to any actions that can be undertaken to mitigate the impact of that risk by building resilience within the organisation and across Shetland.”

Sandison said the council was facing a “bulge” in the need for infrastructure replacement owing to when most of that infrastructure was built.

Councillor Stephen Leask.

Lerwick North councillor Stephen Leask brought up the issue of the Northern Isles ferry routes and delay caused by the legal challenge by CalMac to the new ferry contract being awarded to existing holders Serco NorthLink.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


He said it was rare to see a “complete failure” that could trigger “economic stagnation and decline”.

He added: “The Scottish Government do not know when this issue will be resolved (…) this for me is a complete failure of government.”

Sandison said that one concern was the ongoing lack of clarity about what “flexibility” would actually mean for the Northern Isles ferry service.

Leask also bemoaned the delayed budget from the UK Government.

“The setting of budgets is also a failure of government, this time by Westminster. This is going to have a significant impact and create uncertainty.

“The budget is clearly a far from ideal situation. We are going to get a Scottish budget going forward. As a local authority we need to see sufficient funding for essential services.”

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.



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.