Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Tough Times FAQ's

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Below are some questions frequently asked during the Tough Times Tough Choices public engagement - on the blog and at public meetings and by letter and email.

Your Frequently Asked Questions

Why doesn't the Council stop paying the Distant Islands Allowance to staff? (added 26 November 2010)

If we didn’t pay the allowance, we would lose it from the funding we receive from the Scottish Government. We are not allowed as a Council to spend it on anything else. The money contributes to our local economy and that would also be lost if we stopped paying it to our staff.

Could the £40 million in funding from the Scottish Government for Orkney’s Schools Investment Programme be diverted into other services? (added 26 November 2010)

Again, this money can only be spent on the new schools in Kirkwall and Stromness. We worked hard to win this funding. It will generate substantial building activity in Orkney which will greatly benefit our local economy.

Would the Council consider raising Council Tax by, for example, 25 per cent? (added 26 November 2010)

Council tax rates have been frozen for the last three years by the actions of the Scottish Government, which has paid Councils extra grant funding in compensation. The Government wants to continue this freeze for next year. Had the Council gone against this request we would have faced severe financial consequences. First we would have had to pay back the compensation we’ve already received. Secondly, we would have faced a far bigger cut in overall funding we’ll be paid by Government to run Council services in the year ahead.

The Council tax makes up a relatively small part of our funding pot. An alternative way to raise money would be to introduce – or increase – charges for many of the services we provide. That is one of the difficult decisions Councillors will have to make.

How much does it cost to run Orkney’s street lights? (added 26 November 2010)

It costs the Council around £70,000 a year to run street lighting. We’re looking into fitting time clocks to control when the lamps are lit. There would be a cost involved – but it might end up saving us money in the long term.