Spending not centralised, figures show
Figures have been produced which could scotch a widely-held belief in rural areas that council services are largely centralised towards Lerwick.
A table presented to members this week from finance chief James Gray show the average council revenue spend for a Lerwick resident will be £4,609 during the next financial year.
That comes in just below the average figure of £4,724. The total council spend on the town for the year stands at £35,745,439. That is out of the total council spend for the year of £109,492,751.
The lowest spend per person is in the Central Mainland, at £2,814. Next is the South Mainland at £3,623, while £4,460 is expected to be spent per person on the West Side.
But it is the islands, which rely on ferries and, or, inter-island flights, which have the largest proportion of expenditure.
At the top of the list is Papa Stour. Its population of 15 is due to receive a total council spend of more than £510,000, equating to an annual spend per person of £34,013.
More than £1 million is expected to be spent on Foula to benefit its 38 residents, amounting to a £26,731 spend per person.
Close to £2 million will be spent in Skerries, meaning £25,793 will be spent on its 74 residents. The expenditure per person in Fair Isle, Fetlar and Yell are £17,347, £16,723 and £9,661 respectively. Unst and Whalsay come in at £8,176 and £6,716 respectively.
The cheapest of the islands is Bressay, with a spend per person of £5,806.
Mr Gray stated in his report: “Despite the higher spending per head of population in the most remote parts of Shetland, there is a widely held belief in the community that the council does not spend sufficiently in these areas because it focuses expenditure on Lerwick.”