15th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Trust to trim spending till 2020

Organisations and charitable schemes that are currently funded to the tune of £11 million annually by Shetland Charitable Trust will see that funding dwindle to £8.5 million by 2020, the trust decided yesterday.

The latest cutbacks, that created divisions in the trust earlier this year, were confirmed by a meeting of the trust at Islesburgh before its brief annual general meeting.

It continues the trust’s policy of attempting to maintain a cash “pot” that will be passed on to future generations and led to the trust cutting back its spending by £1.2 million annually in the three years till April 2015. It plans a “standstill” budget till next April when a disbursements review is completed.

A report by trust chief executive Ann Black says that it was “felt that that maximum expenditure of £11 million in the previous financial plan did not allow the trust to be sustainable.”

Ann Black

Ann Black

An introduction by chairman Bobby Hunter says that “the planned reduction in expenditure will allow the trust to be self-sustainable by 2020 and protect the reserves of the trust against inflation for future generations.”

This means that the trust will not spend any more than the amount its funds have grown after inflation is taken into account, so that the value of its fund will not diminish in real terms.

To achieve its reductions the trust will use £2m of its reserves while the funding reductions are implemented.

Figures for the financial year till April 2015 show that while the trust’s three biggest beneficiaries; Shetland Recreational Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Arts Trust, spend every penny of the money allocated to them, some of the trust’s smaller dependants, such as Voluntary Action Shetland and a variety of local charitable organisations underspent their funding.

Mr Hunter said after the meeting that the trust was making good progress towards financial sustainability and had seen its investment funds grow significantly in the past year.
But trustee Allison Duncan was furious that an attempt to have a contingency fund for the Citizen’s Advice Bureau debated was thwarted at the meeting, which stuck to its written agenda.

Mr Duncan said: “In exceptional circumstances we should be able to give them more funding but there is a reluctance on the part of certain members to debate this. They seem to think we should stick to the four-year plan, so that would appear to be a refusal. I’m not very happy about this at all. It should be taken before the trustees and questions asked.”

He said that the CAB was a “brilliant” organisation that had helped clients take up £800,000 in welfare benefits – money that is spent in the Shetland economy. Additionally, the CAB provided invaluable advice on employee rights, financial hardship and many other topics.

But Mr Hunter said later that there was no point deciding on a plan and not abiding by it.
He added that the budget had been set by the trust in “very extensive consultation” with all the bodies that are affected.

“We are setting a plan for what these organisations are going to get over the next four years and when you add that up, that’s the money we are going to spend,” he said.

He added that the trust was in the process of appointing a media “advisor” but that he would remain as the spokesman for the organisation, while the appointee would have only an advisory role.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

View other stories by »

3 comments

  1. iantinkler

    How very odd, were we not promised wealth beyond our wildest dreams, from The Trust’s Viking Energy investment by 2020? Come on Hunter, Wills, and Ratter let us know why you are mimicking Cameroon and Osborne’s policy of austerity and cuts? Your actions would indicate many of my previous statements about your collective reckless, incompetence and speculative stupidity may hay been correct after all!! Please give us an answer why your projections were so wrong and let us know to the nearest decade when the countless promised millions from Viking Energy will start rolling in. Surely will that promised income we do not need cuts at all. 1

    Reply
  2. iantinkler

    Surely, Surely with that promised income we do not need cuts at all. Lol!! Please no one hold your breath.

    Reply
  3. Johan Adamson

    Sticking to your guns is one thing, but being inflexible is quite another, not responding to Shetlands needs and wants. Who runs this trust? Apparently its going to be a PR guru who will make everything OK and any unpopular decision will be made fantastic for the people of Shetland (living under the windmills in not just relative but absolute poverty). Dont resign Allison, or it will just get even worse and I am sure you have the support of many.

    Reply

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.