3rd April 2020
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Petition raises 1,600 signatures

0 comments, , by , in Headlines, News

A Lerwick man says he has gathered 1,600 signatures from people across the isles in a petition protesting against changes to Shetland Charitable Trust’s Christmas grant scheme.

Sandy McMillan, from the town’s South Lochside, has gathered widespread support over three months since the unpopular decision was made.

In February the trust opted to cut the benefit it offers to pensioners and disabled people. At that time trustees voted in favour of paring back the £361,800 bonus to £100,000.

The decision proved controversial, with trustee Allison Duncan insisting the move was an attack on society’s most vulnerable people.

But trust chairman Bobby Hunter said changes in the benefit system made the grant scheme increasingly difficult to administer. Cutting the bonus, he said, was not about saving money, but about putting it in the right place.

The decision has angered Mr McMillan, who took up the cause after hearing from a friend in Whalsay.

His petition calls on the trust to re-examine its decision and have the full bonus – which has been handed out since 1979 – re-instated.

“I’ve been from Unst to Fair Isle, sending it round the local shops,” he said.

Asked why the bonus was so important he insisted: “It’s about the only thing that the people of Shetland get from the oil fund.”

He said there had been a lot of support in favour of retaining the previous level of bonus since the petition started doing the rounds.

“Generally folk were saying how it helps them financially around Christmas time with various things. It’s an expensive time of year for the pensioners.”

Signatures are still being gathered online through the change.orgwebsite.

Mr Hunter told The Shetland Times: “I understand folk has the right to come with a petition about it. What we are trying to do is the best we can and focus funds at folk that need them.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.