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Letters / Money on a spreadsheet

I refer to a recent article in the local press in which fears are expressed by SIC finance manager Paul Fraser over the council’s reserves.

Ostensibly it pertains to and highlights the lack of ‘money’ from Westminster/Holyrood, forcing the council to balance its budget by financing/borrowing from its own resources.

Arguably that is the equivalent of the UK Treasury borrowing x£billions by issuing gilts to fund its own deficit, as it has done for centuries – it is called the national debt but should be more rightly termed The National Savings (i.e. money in a spreadsheet) which has not been spent or released back into the economy).

Shetland shouldn’t be penalised with austerity and devoid of resources just to satisfy the need to subsidise the UK deficit which oil and gas revenues and taxes, mostly gained from Shetland’s waters, have helped to keep Westminster and Holyrood afloat.

In comparison to the UK’s massive balancing needs, Shetland only requires very modest sums for its budget and infrastructure items such as tunnels, housing, transport links, NHS, fishing, spaceports etc which would beneficially add to the nation’s capital assets, whilst obtaining a return on investments.

To achieve that it should be recognised that a reset of Shetland’s financial status is required, and a bookkeeping exercise to achieve it could be obtained by an appropriation or access (ie backing) to/from the National Savings account (mentioned above) to be used by the SIC as credit via the BoE/Treasury for all its budgetary and investment requirements.

By such methodology Shetland would be removed from the Westminster and Holyrood budget balance sheets to the benefit of all three parties. What’s not to like about that?

Councillors/SIC might care to consider the above as a way forward when their three representatives next meet with officials in London.

Cecil Robertson



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