Sparks fly over SIC reserves

It was money that caused one councillor to leave early and the committee chairman to admonish councillors’ conduct as tempers heated up during this morning’s audit committee meeting.

Shetland central councillor Ian Scott questioned the conclusion of the Deloitte 2021/2022 audit for the need of SIC to limit using money from its reserves despite the council having £480 million in the bank.

The September budget required an additional £5m from the reserves with Mr Scott asking finance officer Jamie Manson: “There may be confusion in the use of the word deficit.

“Are we asked to accept that £5 million pound a year from a £480m is unsustainable. So what exactly does unsustainable mean?”

Mr Scott added: “It’s unsustainable because we have agreed to make it unsustainable within the medium term financial plan.”

The councillor returned to the subject during debate commenting: “I know how financial terms are used. Would another £5m from £480m reserves be unsustainable, that’s what I ask everyone to ask themselves.

“I can understand financial speak and it’s all smoke and mirrors and astrology, it all comes into play, they confuse us.”

Councillor John Fraser responded asking Mr Scott to apologise for his terminology before slamming his remarks for being “disingenuous” if he did not agree to meet Mr Manson to get an explanation.

Chairman of the committee, Allison Duncan, stepped in to cool down the two and, after a brief discussion on the next agenda item, Mr Scott up and left.


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