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Letters / Change must come

Your ‘seasonal’ article on the swings and roundabouts of the Shetland Charitable Trust fund performance is to be fully expected when investing in the global capitalist economy, which is inherently prone to crashes.

Value of charitable trust investments takes £50m dip

A £50 million dip in value of the trust equals over £2000 per woman and child! Did the fund managers’ income take a commensurate hit? Live by the sword, die by it!

I have been calling for the trust (and the council’s pension pot and reserve Fund) to take a much more long-term ethical, environmental  and truly sustainable approach to investment since on the trust (and council) in 1986-88.

My motion to do so received no seconder, not even from the colleagues, so- called socialists!

This debate reminds me of the debate to build the new school at Clickimin. Another 30 years for the penny, several 1,000’s of pounds actually, to drop before the decision was finally made, costing the council and the Scottish Government God knows how much over the odds!

I presented our then fund managers, the rapacious Rothchild’s (check out their very chequered history) with Financial Times researched evidence of higher and more stable returns over the longer term. They did not refute my findings, in fact concurred with them.

The council was far too busy overspending and giving grants, not loans, as they should have done, to local businesses.

Is it not time the trust did take a much more ethical and truly sustainable approach to investment and invest more, for a reasonable return, in local industry, Shetlandic and Scottish?

If it can do it for SHEAP, it can do it for other sectors or buy into industries we originally funded individuals to set up (with EU funds often as match funding) who then sold out to Norway or others for a tidy private income sum. Reimbursement time gents?

Seems a strange combination of fear and greed still at work.

Investment in extension of the local energy company into rural areas for one, in conjunction with the community council (wind) benefit fund, similarly significant expansion of local food production through a publicly owned company, rather than lots of little local ones in competition with each other.

Shetland is too small for unnecessary internal competition, when significant economies of scale can be achieved by cooperation. Are we incapable of cooperating? Except for endless charity fund-raising, where local benefits could perhaps  be questioned – CLAN, COPE (self-funding now through trading?), Mind Your Head and a few others excepted.

Watching the cruise ships come and go last week and this so far, I am not sure that the lion share of income is ending up locally. An eco-friendly Shetland tourist company that local providers can buy into would be much more beneficial than external agencies and companies benefitting.

Tourism impacts on the whole of Shetland, the whole of Shetland and its environment should benefit, rather than ‘the few’ who clearly believe in antiquated, failed ‘trickled down’ economics. Except there is often no trickle down at all to low wage employees.

No island allowance or decent pension scheme for them! A tourism eco-tax is required, the polluter must pay. See Bhutan!

Change must come.

James J Paton
Lerwick