Local News for Monday 11th March 2019

Government that the Air Discount Scheme has been renewed until 31 December 2020.

The scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and is designed to make air services more affordable for remote communities in the Highlands & Islands by providing a discount on the core air fare on certain eligible routes.

The discount offered was increased from 40% up to 50% in 2016 by then Transport Minister Derek Mackay MSP in recognition of the high costs of flying to and from areas such as the Western Isles.

The scheme will also be extended from 1 April to allow students studying in eligible areas, but whose main residence is elsewhere, to make use of the scheme as well as including more areas in Caithness and Sutherland.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: ‘The Air Discount Scheme plays a vital role in making flying to the mainland more affordable for islanders and I know this announcement will be widely welcomed across my constituency.

‘It is also welcome to see students who have come here to study being able to benefit from scheme for the first time. This is important in marketing the islands as an attractive place to study.’

£223,000 FOR COMHAIRLE

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed a Scottish Government allocation to the Western Isles of £223,000 under the Town Centre Fund 2019/20.
The purpose of the fund is to drive local economic activity and stimulate economic improvements to town centres.
Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of Sustainable Development, said: “This allocation of £223,000 under the Town Centre Fund is welcome and we will need to look closely at how to make the best use of funds and whether we can use this to lever in further funding from other sources.”
A report on the funding and how it could be allocated locally will go to future meetings of the Comhairle.
The announcement follows the Budget statement in December 2018 that the Scottish Government would provide a new ring-fenced £50 million Town Centre Fund for 2019-20 within the local authority capital settlement.