No fairness in the cuts (Stuart Ramsey)
The council is looking for cuts/efficiencies of £26 million we are told. Will this process be thought out fairly? I fear not.
Last year all departments were asked to “volunteer” 12 per cent savings – very few did. The ones which did play ball and provided savings are being asked to provide another 10 per cent. Twenty-two per cent cuts for the departments which did as they were asked and 10 per cent for those which didn’t. Is that fair?
Next year is election year, so expect some cowardly and popular mild cuts in the first year (prior to the council elections) and more stringent ones later. I expect millions to be continually wasted running almost empty ferries all day round. Why not cut back ferries to coincide with working practices? We cannot afford to run ferries so often.
I also suspect that road and winter maintenance will be cut back. Lives will be put at risk for the road users in Shetland as it will be deemed inappropriate to grit the roads or repair pot holes to fund other services. Should this happen? It will cost far more long-term to repair roads if the foundations are damaged.
No, the council has got to have a better strategy than ordering across-the-board 10 per cent cuts. It should look at protecting some services (some of which are required by law) while cutting back on more non-essential services.