Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Blog Topic Two - Wish You'd Said Something?

Image of the Tough Times - Tough Choices logo

This blog closed on January 13 to further comment. Responses are available to view below. To take part in the current discussion, click on ‘Convener’s Blog’ link within this section.


Have you been along to one of the Tough Times-Tough Choices road shows? Is there anything you later wish you’d said? Or perhaps you’ve since come up with some money saving ideas for the Council. Why not use the blog to have your say now? If we haven’t visited your area yet, I hope you’ll join us at your local road show. And why not join the online debate now. We need to know the potential impact of spending cuts on you and your community.

Stephen Hagan, OIC Convener

Blog Responses:

Anonymous, Stromness (13 January 2011)

Please think hard before making cuts. Remember that investment in people is paramount. It takes many years to build things up, and an instant to let it go. Tough times yes, but make good choices for the future, not just the present.

Anonymous, Stromness (13 January 2011)

Tell us what you think: Please don't make the arts, heritage and education the easy targets for the cuts - they are essential to Orkney's vitality and personality and provide a major selling point for visitors and businesses from both the UK and overseas.

Chris Clark, Rousay (13 January 2011)

A few ideas where OIC could save and raise money. Running the island shop, I receive far too many letters from the Council. Very often a quick phone call would do - a far cheaper option. I'm sure many other small businesses would share this view. The shop is at the end of a 200 metre road. In wintry weather this isn't gritted because it's a private road. At 75, I'd be happy to pay the Council to do the gritting for me. And it's the same with verge cutting – another source of income for OIC.

Household rubbish bags are currently collected during a roadside collection across the island - a time consuming and costly process. Why not provide suitable containers at three or four locations in Rousay instead? I'm sure most people would be willing to drop off their rubbish - and help those too frail to do this themselves. It would speed up the collection and save money for the Council.

I often order books at the Orkney Library that are sent from other libraries elsewhere in Britain. The charge at the moment is far too low. I’d be happy to pay more - and still save on the cost of actually buying the books. The library also has a wonderful selection of magazines. I’m sure these could be sold on at a reduced cost once they've been read - another small source of income for OIC.

Anonymous, Stromness (13 January 2011)

Is there any way we can calculate costs for all the centrally funded posts (e.g community safety, home support etc) and seek permission to redeploy funding to more essential posts in keeping with the needs locally? The Scottish Government haave given funding from a central pot and ring fenced it but the Council should be allowed to decide its own priorities to meet local targets. Good luck! 

Anonymous, Wyre (11 January 2011)

I agree with many of the ideas suggested by folk on this blog site including keeping the site itself going in the future as you will get far more realistic picture of what folk think than any questionnaire or survey. Street/pier lighting in the middle of the night or the rolling 'information' boards at piers are completely unnecessary and many public buildings are totally overheated.Fortnightly rubbish collections would surely be adequate, especially if people were less wasteful & recycled more. However, those folk (obviously Mainland based) who think that folk should be penalised for 'choosing' to live in the isles should consider how they'd feel if they were told to leave the family home they were born & brought up in. Do you really want all the smaller islands empty (apart from rich folk) and  everyone else living in Kirkwall? For the sustainable future of the whole of Orkney please take care when looking at Transport issues, forget new swimming pools and use existing school buildings until such time as we can afford them. Affordable ferry transport is the main issue for many of us out here.   

Anonymous, Kirkwall (11 January 2011)

It feels like our Education budget could be used more efficiently. In particular, there are very low primary school numbers in each of Evie, Burray and Stenness, with a good, alternative school within a few (5 or less?) miles journey for most children. Also, there is an anomoly with a Junior Secondary on only one of the inner-isles (Hoy) which has minimal numbers of S1+S2 compared with the costs of having a Junior Secondary open. Solution - close Evie, Burry and Stenness Primaries (AND sell the buildings!) and remove JS status from Hoy, reverting it to a Primary School.

Anonymous (3 January 2011)

What (if anything) is OIC going to do about the huge costs of residential elderly care and the determination of far too many erstwhile property-owning folk to 'avoid'  paying for any of their needlessly 5 star 'hotel' costs? at the very least there should be some public acknowledgement by OIC that the problem exists, coupled with a warning that there is no way that it can be allowed to continue under the ongoing financial meltdown ( that is, unless the rainy day funds are raided for the specific benefit of the better-off , less public-spirited , more devious orcadian geriatrics); look to shetland and its history of funding elderly care!

Meghan McEwen, Westray (14 December)

I was interested to hear Mr. Hagan's use of the word 'menu' to describe the various cuts and savings on offer. It would be very beneficial to attach a potential for saving to each of these options to help members of the public weigh them up with as much information as possible.

Bryan Rendall, Holm (11 December)

I for one am glad that the tough times are now behind us, and no more tough choices have to be made.

The other week, I was in Kirkwall early at 5 am, and Broad Street was ablaze with Christmas lights, in November, on a weekday morning. Not a soul around to see them, me excepted who couldn't give a monkeys about Christmas lights in November at 5 am on a weekday morning.

It appears therefore that the tough times are over, and we once again have money to burn on Christmas lights that nobody will see! Can we now get back to normal and spend money like water again?

Anonymous (6 December)

Good to see that the councillor's car park is still being blocked off so they can attend their meetings whilst those of us who have to be in work are forced to drive around the town and pay for the privilege of working in Kirkwall - probably at an increased rate from next year - as George Orwell states 'some are more equal than others'.