• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Councillors hope Shetland housing deal will aid debt bid

COUNCILLORS in the Highlands are hoping that a deal to reduce Shetland's housing debt by more than half will help boost its bid to win help from the government to tackle its £161 million debt.

The UK and Scottish Governments have agreed to contribute £10m apiece to Shetland after the island's officials argued that its £36m debt was connected to all the houses they had to build to establish the oil industry in the 1970s, particularly during the construction of Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal.

Highland Council, which currently pays around £17.3m a year to service its housing debt, says the same argument applies to the likes of the fabrication yards in the Highlands set up at the same time to build oil and gas platforms.

Drew Hendry, leader of the Highland Council, said: "It is in the Highland Council's programme that we would seek to get the historic housing debt written off by the UK Government.

"We are writing to them following the Shetland settlement.

"We are examining it to see what we can take from it. We would also look to work with the Scottish Government as Shetland has done."

He said the council hoped to have talks with UK and Scottish governments soon.

Shetland Islands Council finance officials say that the remaining £16m is "not a problem debt" and will now be refinanced externally.

Contextual targeting label: 
Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

212645