The Shetland branch of the Labour Party is warning that heavy council cuts could have a disastrous effect on the isles economy.
The party termed the recent SIC budget meeting ” a farce”, comparing the proposals to that imposed to public services nationally by the coalition government.
Spokesman Gordon Thomson said Labour’s message in the aftermath of the 2010 election was that a rash of cuts to public services too fast and too deep could tip the country’s economy back towards recession. While that has fortunately thus far been avoided, the economy was floundering, with the government seemingly running low on ideas on how to provide stimulation.
He said: “A similar scenario could potentially face Shetland in the near future. The farce of the recent council budget meeting underlined the dangers that Shetland could face if the majority of the proposals are put into action.
“The ad hoc, ill-thought out manner of addressing serious issues to various communities highlighted the real lack of political leadership within the SIC that truly was a meeting of the dying embers of the administration.”
Recent party meetings had highlighted concerns over the lack of analysis and research conducted by the SIC on the potential impacts of cuts on the community, Mr Thomson said. That the key proposals focused on children and the elderly, the most vulnerable in society, was a very grave concern of the party.
He added: “The parallels between the Westminster government and the SIC are there for all to see. A raft of unpopular cuts at the wrong time, affecting the wrong services could damage the Shetland economy to a dangerous level.
“The Shetland Constituency Labour Party acknowledges that difficult decisions are necessary but urges the new administration to thoroughly assess the situation and re-visit proposals put forward by the current councillors. Not enough time has been dedicated to understanding the current climate and the party will be eager to engage with new councillors on their position and what it means for Shetland.”