UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Tuesday 18 June 2024
 10.1°C   NNW Gentle Breeze
Ukraine fundraiser - 18 June 2024

Council / No support for councillor Scott’s plea to spend reserves

Levenwick road project confirmed to be part of council’s investment plan

ANYBODY considering standing for council should have a thorough read of the SIC’s medium term financial plan for 2021-2027 to get a firm handle on council finances, according to deputy political leader Emma Macdonald.

Her comments came after a lengthy council session in the town hall on Wednesday during which finance boss Jamie Manson was questioned on the various scenarios set out in his 31-page report, which concluded – once again – that the SIC was not living within its means despite having financial reserves worth some £440 million.

Councillor Ian Scott. Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

She was responding to a plea from Shetland Central member Ian Scott, who once again tried unsuccessfully to convince his fellow councillors that some of the council reserves should be used to fight austerity and fuel poverty – and perhaps even be invested in infrastructure such as fixed links.

Scott said he found it hard to believe that the SIC was considering further service cuts “while having £440m in the bank” and suggested that the council was pursuing this policy because “we want it and not because we have to”.

He found little support in the chamber for any proposal that could undermine the current reserves investment strategy, which is seen as vital to generate sufficient income to help the SIC balance its books.

Councillor Amanda Hawick said upsetting the investment strategy had the potential to jeopardise hundreds of council jobs that are dependent on the extra income from the reserves, while fellow Shetland Central member Davie Sandison warned that once taken out of the reserves every pound could only be spent once.

In his report, finance manager Manson projected that the council could afford a sustainable draw of £14.4 million (profits made from the investments without touching the core of the funds) from its reserves to balance the books in the 2022/23 financial year.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


However, in the current financial year the SIC had to take from the reserves a further “unsustainable” £8.09 million in addition to the “sustainable” draw.

Meanwhile, Manson confirmed that the upgrade of the Levenwick road formed part of the £35 million of additional capital expenditure.

South End councillor Allison Duncan left a meeting of the policy and resources committee in protest on Tuesday after a report on the road project did not form part of the agenda.

Asked by fellow South End councillor George Smith on Wednesday, Manson said that the road project did indeed form part of the capital budgeting for 2022/23.

Manson said: “The outline business case was approved in November 2021 and the estimate for that is included in that £35 million. And, following the approval of the outline business case there is a provisional budget that has been incorporated in the investment plan, which will come before member in February.”

The SIC’s medium term financial plan 2021- 2027 can be found here.

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.