Letters / Begging bowl

Very interesting to read your piece on the SIC enquiring with both the wind power community benefit fund, controlled and administered by our association and individual community councils, and the Shetland Charitable Trust, a completely separate body to the SIC.

Benefit fund clarifies position on supporting council after cost of living approach

Given SIC governance issues – ongoing democratic deficit and ill-prepared, trained/inducted councillors – it does seem wise that the community benefit fund and charitable trust both keep their own council, and legal positions, given SIC historic and recent behaviours re internal and external audit.

The Charitable Trust, unlike the SIC, is a charity and can only fund for charitable purposes, and even then must be highly circumspect to ensure Shetland community benefit.

With £400 million-ish in oil reserved funds it does seem a bit rich that the SIC are passing round the begging bowl. Was this an elected members decision, or one dreamt up by senior officers? Think we should be told.


I am not agin a strategic approach to aligning investment, au contraire, however with a high level community partnership document ‘Our Ambition’ still not consulted on, even by new council or councillors, longer term – beyond this term of the council – strategic thinking still seems absence or de minimus in abeyance.

The potential demands on the (oil) receive funds are significant, if both Westminster and Holyrood continue to play ‘big’ politics with us and also  play ‘the second richest local authority in the UK’ card and deny legitimate and commensurate (with Shetland income tax and corporate tax returns to the national pot) funding to us for tunnels, ongoing ferries (internal and external) and a proper solution to out 21st century telecommunications and data needs and in that regard, stop dependence on a foreign country, (even more so post-Brexit), for our broadband.

Do we know if our Faroe/Denmark ‘contract’ is or remains good value for money, never mind up to the job? Nothing to compare it to of course. a market of one provider.

Oh well, yet more for the autonomy debate to sort out.

Yours sincerely,

James J Paton

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