Local News for Wednesday 13th March 2019


Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed news that ADS (Air Discount Scheme) is to be extended and that students in the Islands with a main residence elsewhere will now qualify for the scheme.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure, said:
“The Comhairle has long campaigned for an extension to ADS which would include those studying in the Islands but with their main residence elsewhere and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has listened to the case we have made. We have also asked that businesses be included under the scheme but so far this has not been accepted. Still, this is a very positive development in extending the scheme.”
The Air Discount Scheme (ADS), which provides eligible travellers with a discount of 50% on core air fares, has been renewed until 31 December 2020.
Students who are studying away from home and whose main residence is in an eligible area will continue to qualify for ADS.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 13th March 2019

Local News for Tuesday 12th March 2019


Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish LEADER & PST ASSIST LEWS CASTLE INNOVATION CENTRE

LEADER funding of £30,000 has been levered in to the Innovation Centre at Lews Castle College UHI thanks mainly to the £20,000 sponsorship the centre received from PST (Point and Sandwick Trust).

One of the key principles of the community wind farm charity is to help organisations help themselves by giving them the match funding they will need to attract further investment.

Donald John MacSween, general manager of PST, said: “PST are delighted that Dr Macleod has attracted additional funding for the Innovation Centre, which is already providing a valuable resource for people to develop their ideas since opening last August.

“We see support for the centre as central to our long-term aim of providing good employment opportunities for entrepreneurs locally, and the Innovation Centre is off to a very good start.”

The centre is a training and development facility for the tech industries and aims to help people produce prototypes and business plans, to get their ideas to market. College students, staff and school pupils also use the centre – and the LEADER money will enable it to upgrade its development and testing equipment to a more sophisticated, industry-level, standard.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 12th March 2019

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.’

Read more: Local News for Monday 11th March 2019

Local News for Friday 8th March 2019


Saturday 9th March sees an International Women’s Day celebration take place for the third year at Back Football and Recreation Club. This year, as well as the usual art exhibition showcasing the work of a range of local female artists, there will also be some new activities on the programme.
Visitors to the centre will be able to choose from craft activities, workshops, a pop up cinema and guest speaker, artist and author Muriel Macleod will be talking about her book “What the river washed away”.
Alongside a wide range of stalls, those attending also be able try their hand at ceilidh dancing, walking netball, yoga or boogie bounce, take part in a walk on the beach or maybe just have a bit of pampering.
The event opens at 12pm, there is no need to book in advance and you can join them for lunch too. The lunches are being provided by Sgoil a' Bhac Parent Council as a fundraiser and there will be a raffle in aid of Western Isles Women’s Aid.

Read more: Local News for Friday 8th March 2019

Local News for Thursday 7th March 2019


Prospect Union Air Traffic controllers in HIAL airports, including Stornoway, have voted to take industrial action following the rejection by Scottish Ministers of a business case to resolve the dispute.
88% of controllers voted for strike action with 90% backing action short of a strike. Turnout was 86%.
Prospect will consult representatives before confirming industrial action plans. The action is likely to start in April and continue through the summer.
Prospect negotiations officer David Avery said:
“Air Traffic Controllers do not want to have to take this action but Ministers’ refusal to engage with the issue of pay has left them with no choice. Prospect remains ready to negotiate at any point to avoid this action but ministers must come back to the table with a new meaningful offer.”
HIAL responded saying:
‘We are disappointed Air Traffic Control (ATC) colleagues have chosen to take industrial action that is likely to have a significant impact on passengers and the communities we serve in the Highlands and Islands…We are open to holding further talks with Prospect on a recruitment and retention allowance for Air Traffic Control staff that would further bolster an attractive remuneration package that already includes excellent pension benefits and holiday entitlements’.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 7th March 2019