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Council / ‘Regrettable’ that Westminster is in line to provide less funding than Brussels, Robinson says

IT IS “regrettable” that Shetland is in line to receive less funding through from Westminster than it did from Brussels after Brexit, the council’s depute leader says.

Gary Robinson said the UK Shared Property Fund will see “significantly less” cash come to Shetland than its EU predecessor.

Meanwhile at Wednesday’s full council meeting Shetland Central member Davie Sandison said it was another example of how Brexit was perhaps the “worst case of self-harm” he had seen.

Following the meeting the council is now set to work up an investment plan to decide how best to use cash from the new UK Government fund.

Shetland has been allocated nearly £1.9 million from April 2022 through to March 2025, with the money set to come through in phases.

It is replacing the EU structural and investment funds programme which had supported economic development and social inclusion schemes in Scotland for years, particularly the European social fund and the European regional development fund.

A report to councillors said the SIC has been a “major recipient” of the scheme, particularly supporting staff posts, services and contracts.

For example, the project to build Mareel in Lerwick secured £2.8 million from the European regional development fund.

Local authorities have been asked to complete an investment plan to set out how they intend to use the money.

It has been proposed that funding be allocated to maintain provision of employability services, which are currently supported by EU funds.

Other areas of priority for the funding could be the development of energy transition skills and supporting rural retail services.

The submission deadline for the investment plan is 1 August, and leader Emma Macdonald said the turnaround time could be a challenge.

But she said she had faith in council officers to get the plan ready in time.