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Councillors 'in dark' on issues


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It is also worth noting that the Council is still hugely dependant on the stock market and a downturn, similar to that of 2001, would leave the council in dire straits.




The stock market will always occassionaly have a downturn (blip), however it's trend is always upwards. Since 2001 how many millions has the SIC made in it's investments in the stockmarket ?


Remember the media thrives on bad news. e.g. Shetland Times reports in 2001 that SIC has lost millions in stockmarket crash.


In fact the reserves are worth more now (in real terms ) than they were in 1993.

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The SIC do doll out grants to businesses and homeowners but what controls are in place to reclaim that money when breaches of the rules occur. I refer again to the example of the Salmon company that went bust after millions had been handed out - what did the SIC get from that?


I see that Hjaltland report a profit of 11 million from 15,000 tonnes of salmon. This suggests to me that the failed venture backed by the SIC might have traded through the difficult times if more investment had been forthcoming and been able eventually to repay the loans. Of course, a few years ago it seemed crazy to throw good money after bad, but if the council has learned anything from this I hope that it will be

1: Make sure the business you are lending millions of pounds to is viable

2: Stick in there for the long haul

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I think the point is, moorit, that it is supposed to be Councilllors who are in control and make these types of decisions but the reality of it is that they either are unaware of their responsibilities or are unable to control their department heads.


It's not supposed to be councilors who are in control, it is supposed to be the council (the councilors as a whole).


An individual councilor may well not be able to change any particular detail of something on the fly once it is underway, but the officials should definately be following council decisions......

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see that Hjaltland report a profit of 11 million from 15,000 tonnes of salmon. This suggests to me that the failed venture backed by the SIC might have traded through the difficult times


If it was one off cases you could defend it but the list seems endless;


"chief executive Morgan Goodlad in arranging financial support for SSG Seafoods; a fish farm business that failed in 2003 with the loss of £8 million pounds to Shetland funds just nine months after it received a council-backed £3.5 million guarantee to buy salmon feed in spite of its ‘perilous trading position’"


"External auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers have castigated Shetland Islands Council for regularly drawing money (£20 million at the last count) from their oil reserve fund, much of which has been used to prop up ailing salmon farm companies, to balance their budget."


"During 2004/05 £4.1 million was taken from the fund and a further £7.8 million is projected to be needed during 2006. However, Council convener Sandy Cluness defended the council’s actions"


But the question of this thread is are the Councillors in control? The councillors have answered that themsleves by setting up a Scrutiny Committee to investigate the actions of the different departments through the council and by this press cutting about the Smyril Line where the Councillors were not being consulted over investments.


"UNEASE is rippling through Shetland Islands Council after it emerged yesterday (Friday) that members would not be consulted over a £700,000 investment in troubled Faroese shipping company Smyril Line.


Some councillors have expressed concern that a six man negotiation committee set up last year has assumed the authority to make the investment"

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In today's STimes it says that the Glasgow based official department for assisting councils with "State Aid" issues has written the SIC on several occassions offering info/training/general assistance but has never received any reply from the SIC.


Obviously this is another area in which officials have been keeping councillors in the dark.

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