Deal reached on common good

HAWICK’S six councillors have claimed a victory in their fight to preserve the town’s common good fund.

Plans to lump all the funds together in a regional pool were unanimously approved at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council last week.

But not before assurances were given that only they would have the power to decide on the level of the investments from the town’s fund and a crucial opt in or out clause was included.

There had been widespread fears that the single-investment strategy involving common good funds from Hawick, Galashiels, Selkirk, Lauder, Kelso, Jedburgh, Peebles – which it was hoped would achieve a greater return – could mark the start of a lack of control.

However, after a meeting with council leader David Parker and two senior finance officers, an agreement was struck.

A statement from the six councillors said: “We wanted to be absolutely clear that we had complete freedom to go into the common pool or not and to come out at any time, with no penalty.

“Once we had that assurance we supported the proposal for a common pool, which was passed unanimously by council.

“Council also agreed unanimously with an amendment from the Hawick members that the Roxburgh Fund, a common pool set up 20 years ago by councillors from Hawick, Jedburgh and Kelso, be the basis for the new larger common pool.”

And Councillor Zandra Elliot, chairperson of the Hawick Common Good Working Group, thanked the people of the town for their support.

She added: “Having been told at the very start that we had no choice other than be part of the one-pot investment strategy we now have a written guarantee that Hawick can opt out at any time if it so chooses, and that decision will be made solely by the councillors who sit on the Hawick Common Good Working Group.

“It has been a difficult journey at times, but I would thank the people of Hawick for their continued support.

“That support has enabled us to secure the future of our common good.”