24th January 2020
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New AHS on track despite £1.25M overspend, councillors told

The new Anderson High School is on track for an April 2017 opening, despite a one month hold up in reaching financial closure.

Councillors were today told finances for the authority’s most ambitious capital project was likely to be signed off in April – a month later than originally expected.

It follows warnings last week from the isles MSP that changes in EU rules could lead to delays in the project, which is due for construction at the Clickimin after more than 20 years of hold-ups.

Tavish Scott said alterations to the European statistical accounts had delayed capital investments from Holyrood across Scotland, threatening the timescale and delivery of high-profile projects such as the new Anderson High.

Members of today’s education and families committee also heard there was a capital overspend on the project of close to £1.245 million.

Most of the overspend relates to the new Anderson High, which is due to go over budget because of the payment of fees which were not factored into the budgets when they were set.

Director of the SIC’s children’s services department, Helen Budge, said the overall amount remained the same, but money was being spent earlier than anticipated, which would help save time later. The upshot of that should mean that no extra money is spent in the long-term.

Mrs Budge said the anticipated opening, a little over two years away, had not changed.

“We’re looking very closely at the ‘packages’ that are coming back around what will form the cost plan, which then forms the basis for the financial close,” she said.

“That’s a piece of work we are doing just now, and that’s very positive because it means we won’t have to do it before we get to the end of stage two. The budget is set and we’re now spending earlier than we might have spent.

“In respect of the school itself, currently we are still looking at a finish date of April 2017. Obviously when we get to financial close that would be confirmed at that point.”

Meanwhile, members also heard about a £1.079 million revenue underspend.

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.

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  1. Johan Adamson

    What is this underspend?

    • Chris Johnston

      I suspect it is bureaucratic doublespeak for “we collected less money than expected.”

      As George Orwell wrote, “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, …”

  2. Stuart Hannay

    “the overall amount remained the same, but money was being spent earlier than anticipated, which would help save time later”.



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