Council to stage seven public meetings as it seeks to cut £26m from budget

Shetland Islands Council has confirmed dates for seven public meetings to listen to any ideas the community may have on how to slash £26 million from its annual budget over the next two years.

The first meeting will take place in Cunningsburgh Hall on Wednesday 26th October and there will also be sessions in Scalloway, Bixter, Whalsay, Brae, Lerwick and Yell. Councillors and officials will be present to set out the “bare facts” of the council’s financial position and members of the public will have the opportunity to make suggestions for savings.

Trade unions have been warning that the end result of the consultations is likely to be “chaos” because the council has set out a figure before deciding what services it needs to prioritise. The unions have also expressed deep concern at the potential impact the cuts – equivalent to over 400 jobs – could have on the Shetland economy.

But a recent report from temporary head of finance Hazel Sutherland warned that if spending was not cut the SIC’s oil reserves could be emptied before the end of this decade. She re-asserted this week that there was simply no alternative.

“The bottom line is that we have to cut council spending considerably,” she said. “£26 million is a lot of money, but we simply cannot afford to raid our reserves any further.

“These meetings are an opportunity for members of the Shetland public to have their say on how we spend and save their money. Each meeting will start at 7pm. With the scale of challenge we are facing, I think it’s really important we get a good turnout.”

Meeting dates are as follows: Cunningsburgh Hall (26th October), Scalloway Hall (27th October), Bixter Hall (31st October), Symbister Hall (1st November), Brae Hall (2nd November), Sound Hall (3rd November), Cullivoe Hall (10th November).

• You can read more information on the council’s website at You can also email suggestions for saving money to


Add Your Comment
  • phili smith

    • October 19th, 2011 11:10

    I’ve got an idea how to start saving money.

    STOP throwing public funds at Viking Energy!

  • Marina Thomason

    • October 23rd, 2011 10:53

    Another waste of time and money. As Sandy Cluness stated himself on radio Shetland (I think not in direct relation to this subject) people will always fight for their own pet projects and in this case, the services that directly effect them. So I can tell them now what the outcome of the consultation will be – the people in the central belt of Shetland will be demanding that small schools are closed and that ferry services to the isles cut. Because there is a higher population there it will be said that this is the views of the majority of people in Shetland.

    I would hazard a guess that the majority of the people of Shetland do not have the first clue about how the SIC actually deliver services. If the councillors can’t see for themselves where cuts can be made and prioritise services then we’re in trouble.


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