Cuts of more than a third of a million pounds have been agreed by Shetland Charitable Trust as it continues to grapple with financial challenges.
At a meeting yesterday the trust unanimously approved the 2017/18 budget, which included the £337,812 reduction in disbursement payments.
That will see them hand out a total of £8,007,238 in revenue grants. A further £54,000 will be disbursed to local charities, arts projects and senior citizens clubs.
Roughly £5 million of that figure has been earmarked for the three large trusts, including £664,426 for the Shetland Arts Development Agency, £1.2 million for the amenity trust and £3.1 million for the recreational trust.
Other beneficiaries include Disability Shetland, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Cope, Shetland Folk Festival and the Rural Care Model.
Meanwhile, cuts to administration expenditure was also agreed, dropping from £699,227 to £662,821.
One area of spending which has not been curbed is the money spent on fund managers’ fees. This has nearly doubled from £412,000 to £805,299.
Forecast expenditure for the year up to March 31st 2018 comes to a total of £9,529,358, while income is budgeted to be only £5,236,234. This means that the trust will be drawing on capital held to cover the deficit of £4,293,124.
In 2015 the trust agreed a four year financial plan which aimed to reduce spending to a sustainable level by 2020.
The proposed cuts and increased spend on fund managers, which it is hoped will net higher returns, are part of that drive.
During the meeting chairman Bobby Hunter explained that the idea of the four year plan was to reduce the draw on capital year on year.
He said: “The idea is that it goes down each year.”
In September it was reported that the the net position of the trust’s capital for the 2015/16 financial year was £232.8 million, down from £240.4 million.
The current value of the trust’s investments currently sits at around £220 million, with around £199 million of that invested in global markets and a further £23 million in the local economy.
• For more from Thursday’s Charitable Trust meeting see this week’s Shetland Times