Councillor warns of unemployment growth in town hall meeting

Shetland can expect to see a 10 per cent growth in unemployment as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, a senior councillor has warned.

Chairman of the SIC’s development committee Alastair Cooper warned the jobless total in the isles could reach levels not seen for decades.

The North Mainland councillor delivered his warning during Thursday’s second stint of the authority’s mammoth full council meeting.

He was speaking after chief executive Maggie Sandison outlined the council’s detailed Covid-19 response, which aims to set out the thinking that should underpin “recovery and renewal”.

“I think we have to be honest and say we can expect 10 per cent or greater unemployment in Shetland – which we’ve never had in 40 years,” Mr Cooper said.

He said the longer term should see a move towards better prospects, highlighting the inter-connector cable and the Viking Energy windfarm.

Mr Cooper added the economic impact of the Covid crisis was a “short-term issue for one or two years – and I think the community is going to really suffer.”

He said input was needed into a community impact assessment report to help mitigate against the problems.

The debate came after a petition gathered almost 30 signatures calling on the council to have facilities for testing  Covid-19 cases in the hope of turning round results more quickly.

Members agreed the petition should be referred to the NHS. 


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