Provost’s warning over Common Good

PROVOST Zandra Elliot has issued a stark warning to Scottish Borders Council – leave our Common Good Fund alone!

Mrs Elliot was speaking at last Friday night’s Callants Club dinner where she expressed grave concerns over plans by SBC to make changes to the way the funds are handled.

She revealed that Hawick currently held more than £3million in its Common Good Fund, with assets including farms and farmland.

And she called on Teries to strongly oppose any interference from the local authority.

She said: “With assets currently standing at some £3.2million, our Common Good Fund is the envy of the rest of the Borders.

“I still have concerns that control of our fund could be wrested from us in the future, especially given the fact that Scottish Borders Council is currently carrying out a review of its administration of Common Good Funds.

“Smaller funds – much smaller funds – are looking to merge with the larger funds in an effort to improve their income, to the detriment of Hawick.

“I can assure you, your current councillors will not allow anything to interfere with or detract from our Common Good assets.”

However, Councillor Carolyn Riddell-Carre, chairperson of the Common Good Investment Group denied that there were plans to merge Common Good Funds.

And she believed the proposals being looked at, to create a single investment strategy for the cash which the funds hold, will benefit Hawick in the long run.

She said: “If this strategy is approved, what would happen would be that each common goods would have its own share of the fund, depending on what they put in. If Hawick puts in its £450,000 cash investments and if this was equal to half the funds under management, then Hawick would have half of the fund.

“No-one is trying to take anything away from Hawick.

“Yes, Hawick would pay its due percentage of the management costs of this fund, but it already does pay for the management of its considerable investments.

“We are sure that Hawick will benefit from updating its investment strategy which has not been examined since before 1995.”