Common Good funds should be controlled locally

Common Good Funds currently run by Scottish Borders Council should be overseen by local people, according to the Borders Party.

The announcement came after a Borders Party motion to improve transparency in accounting for such funds was passed in the Council Chamber last week.

Councillor Nicholas Watson, Borders Party leader, said: “Too often the instinct of councillors is to spend money if it’s available. The council needs to remember that many of these funds have been around for centuries, and we have a duty to hand them on in good shape to future generations.”

Common Good Funds, alongside other philanthropic trusts, have been established over the years to provide services and facilities in Borders towns and villages such as parks, libraries, support for the needy and grants for community groups.

Councillor Watsion added: “A proper investment strategy (begun by SBC last year) is a good step, as most of these funds have been earning next to nothing, but we also need a clear view of the changing value of these funds year on year, and be prepared to restore fund values when returns are good instead of just spending.

“The Borders Party is calling for more local control of common good and trust funds, proposing the establishment of local boards. We believe that the Common Good Funds should be controlled locally in the local interest.

“We would establish new advisory boards, made up of local people to exercise oversight of the Funds to ensure proper accountability and sustainability in the long term. Scottish Borders Council would undertake to act under guidance from these bodies.”