Eliminate Shetland Islands Council's historic £40 million housing debt.
  • Petitioned Margaret Burgess MSP

This petition was delivered to:

Scottish housing and welfare minister
Margaret Burgess MSP
UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
George Osborne MP

Eliminate Shetland Islands Council's historic £40 million housing debt.

    1. Petition by

      The Shetland Times

Shetland Islands Council (SIC) chalked up huge debts building houses to assist the UK state's drive to get the North Sea oil industry up and running quickly in the 1970s. Subsequently, over £300 billion in tax revenues has flowed into the UK Treasury from oil and gas.

In 1974 Scottish Office minister Bruce Millan pledged that government would "do everything possible to resolve any difficulties" arising from the need for housing to accommodate oil workers. The SIC built over 1,000 new homes between 1974 and 1989 to cope with a 37 per cent population influx.

Its colossal debt burden was worsened after Margaret Thatcher introduced the "right to buy" for council house tenants. It meant the SIC sold off over 1,500 of its homes at discount prices. That caused its rental income to plummet by around £5 million a year, leaving its housing revenue account saddled with huge debts.

The liability stands at around £40 million today, equating to £23,000 of debt for each of the remaining 1,800 council houses.

On at least three separate occasions since, ministers north and south of the border have recognised the UK state's moral obligation to reimburse the council – without ever handing over a cheque.

If something is not done to address the debt, Shetland's council house occupants – who already pay the second-highest rents in Scotland – will face a hike in rents of 10 per cent or more in 2014.

To:
Margaret Burgess MSP, Scottish housing and welfare minister
George Osborne MP, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
Eliminate Shetland's historic £40 million housing debt.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. 2,045 signatures - thanks for your support

      We've now got 1,649 signatures on change.org, along with a further 396 in paper coupons. That makes a total of 2,045 - very nearly a tenth of the Shetland population. Please keep sharing this and encouraging your friends and acquaintances to lend their support. It's important!

    2. Reached 1,500 signatures
    3. 1,469 signatures - gaining momentum

      We've now got 1,211 signatures on change.org, along with a further 258 in paper coupons. Please keep sharing this and encouraging your friends and acquaintances to lend their support. It's important!

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    4. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Aidan Scott CARLUKE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      It's not Shetland's fault that they are in this postion. The government should reimburse them.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Susan Rivers BERKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      previously worked at SIC Housing Dept and aware of how important it is to have this debt written off finally.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Keith Shepherd DUNROSSNESS, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 1 year ago

      Because it effects all in Shetland

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Angus Jack TAIN, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 1 year ago

      I would like to see all of Scotland's local authorities housing debt written off. It resulted from Conservative policies which left the burden with council house tenants and council tax payers.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mark Georgeson GOTT, UNITED KINGDOM
      • over 1 year ago

      I think this debt should be written off as Shetland built those houses to support the development of the oil boom in the 70's. The Treasury have subsequently taken in £Billions in tax revenue.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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