Shetland council to explore ways of achieving autonomy

Councillors show support for motion in support of 'financial and political self-determination'.

Shetland council to explore ways of achieving autonomy Google

Shetland Islands Council will begin exploring ways to achieve “financial and political self-determination” after a vote in the chambers.

Twenty councillors showed their support for a motion on Wednesday, which stemmed from growing frustration over the centralisation of decision making.

The motion read: “We believe that Shetland has the wherewithal to have a positive future.

“However, in recent times we have seen more and more decision making being centralised and public funding being consistently reduced.

“We are concerned that this ongoing situation is seriously threatening the prosperity, and even basic sustainability, of Shetland as a community.

“In order to look at alternatives to ensure Shetland can reach and maintain its full potential, we, the undersigned, move that: The Shetland Islands Council formally begins exploring options for achieving financial and political self-determination.”

Council leader Steven Coutts proposed the motion be approved, suggesting remote decision making “just does not work” for Shetland.

It went to a vote after Councillor Stephen Leask put forward an amendment against the motion, with only Councillor Ian Scott backing him.

Members stressed the motion meant options were being explored only and that any constitutional change would see the public go to the ballot box.

The motion was passed by 20 votes to two.

Story by local democracy reporter Chris Cope

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