SIC to receive share of £10.5 million for inter-island ferries
Shetland Islands Council is to receive a share of £10.5 million for inter-island ferries next year, following a draft budget revealed by the Scottish government.
The news emerged on Wednesday afternoon as finance minister Derek Mackay announced the budget.
Shetland Islands Council leader, Steven Coutts, said: “The finance secretary has made some very interesting commitments in his speech today.
“The details, however, will only fully emerge over the coming days and weeks and obviously we will now look closely at what these will mean for our own spending.”
Meanwhile, NHS Shetland is to receive £1.2 million increase in its core budget from the Scottish government, but has warned savings still need to be made.
The Scottish government announced its draft budget on Wednesday, with the health board’s budget to increase from £49.4 million to £50.6 million.
But NHS Shetland said its costs are expected to increase by £2.7 million as a result of inflation, nationally agreed pay awards, new and increased prescribing of drugs and the increasing demand on services with an ageing population.
A statement from NHS Shetland said: “This means, along with our current costs already being £2.4 more than our budget, that NHS Shetland will need to reduce our current costs by around £ 3.9m if we are to deliver a balanced budget
“As has been previously described by the Board this is an extremely challenging position and we are continuing to look at what we would need to do to deliver this.
“We are currently planning to present a budget to our Board meeting in February and will need to continue to work with the Scottish Government, staff, partners and very importantly the local community if we are to create sustainable services for the future.
“Alongside the proposed budget increase described above, NHS Shetland also expects to receive some further funding to support a range of national priorities such as primary and community care, mental health and access targets.
• More in Friday’s Shetland Times