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Council given £1m capital boost from Government

The Council of the Isles of Scilly is to receive a payment of £1 million in capital grant funding from Central Government.

The payment was a result of numerous visits by former Council chair Amanda Martin, ex-Vice chair Steve Sims and CEO Theo Leijser to Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. These were backed up by concerns raised by Scilly's MP Derek Thomas.

The money will help with the "costs of upgrades to essential financial and IT systems". Derek told This is Scilly News: "Every December the Government decides the settlement for all councils. It was clear to me that the work that your council has to deliver is so much more than any other. Then there are the issues of attracting people to work here, providing the housing that's needed, transport costs etc.

"So I argued that the Government really needs to understand the unique costs of running services on the islands and the pressure the islands have, that If you don't fund it more you will end up losing all but basic services.

"I made that case in conjunction with Theo and Amanda, who came up for meetings with ministers, and we looked at how we could find money to help the council. What the Government couldn't do was just give you more money to deliver services because the formula doesn't work for you. So what they've done is give you a million pounds to improve the financial and IT function, where you can agree there has been inefficiency in the past."

The funding is seen as a capital investment to make revenue savings in future years in order to make the Council more sustainable. It is intended that it will free up money to spend on public services, as well as combat the issues flagged up by auditors about the Council's financial controls and reporting.

Announcing the funding, Sajid Javid wrote to Derek: "In making this decision, I accepted the case for financial assistance was justified to improve the financial management and sustainability of the Council."

The investment in financial systems and IT was subject to the completion of a collaborative agreement with Cornwall Council.

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