Petition tells SBC to leave Hawick out

Zandra Elliot is joined by fellow Hawick councillors as they hand over a petition on the future of the Common Good to Council Convenor Alasdair Hutton
Zandra Elliot is joined by fellow Hawick councillors as they hand over a petition on the future of the Common Good to Council Convenor Alasdair Hutton

COUNCILLOR Zandra Elliot has delivered a petition bearing almost 1,900 signatures demanding that the local authority leaves Hawick Common Good Fund alone.

With the backing of her fellow local councillors, the chairman of Hawick Common Good Working Group handed the petition to the convenor of Scottish Borders Council, Alasdair Hutton - insisting that the town’s assets do not become part of the ‘one pot’ strategy being proposed.

Mrs Elliot, who was instrumental in organising the petition, said was delighted by the level of support shown by the list of names. She said: “Given the short time available and the fact that the holiday period overlapped, I am absolutely delighted with the response from the people of the town, who are after all, the people to whom the Common Good Fund belongs.”

Concerns had previously been raised in the town that a single investment strategy – which would involve all of the Borders’ common good funds assets being put together in one lump sum in the hope of achieving a greater return – that money would disappear into a common pot instead of remaining in Hawick, and it could mark the start of a lack of control.

Despite assurances to the contrary given by Council Leader David Parker in a private meeting with Hawick Community Council, Councillor Elliot went on: “The current set-up suits Hawick best. If other Common Goods want to merge their assets because that suits their means, then that is for them to decide, and we would not interfere in that decision.

“We would however expect that other funds would reciprocate by allowing Hawick to do what the Hawick councillors think best for the Hawick fund, and in our case that is to maintain the status quo.”

Councillor Elliot concluded: “It is quite clear that the Hawick councillors and the people of Hawick believe that the current arrangements suit Hawick best. I trust the other Border councillors will recognise this fact and vote accordingly when the issue is discussed at the August meeting of the full council”.

A spokesperson for SBC said: “The petition has been passed onto Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre as chair of the Common Good Investment Group and Councillor David Parker as Leader of the Council.

“It will be taken into account, along with any other information received on this topic, to help reach a decision about the best use of investments in the Common Good Funds.”