Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 29th May 2020

FERRY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS UNCHANGED

As Scotland enters phase one of the lockdown transition, the Scottish Government announced that ferry capacity, remains restricted. Non-essential ferry travel, continues to be discouraged, to prevent spreading the virus to island communities
There are no changes to the current ferry timetables as yet, but an update will be announced in two weeks. While encouraging people to follow the new advice for emerging from lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon said “The route forward will be slow, careful and cautious. Where a visit by ferry, to a family member is essential, people should limit the number of trips to the absolute minimum”
Ideas being looked at, for island sea links, include reserving ferries for island residents, with tourists continuing to stay away for longer.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 29th May 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 28th May 2020

MSP ALLAN RAISES TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN HOLYROOD

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan raised the issue of travel restrictions to and from the Western Isles, in the Scottish Parliament this week.

The islands MSP, attending remotely from his home in Lewis, asked how the travel restrictions to the Western Isles, fit in with the publication of the Scottish Government’s route map, for moving out of lockdown.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“The travel restrictions on Western Isles ferries continues to play, an important part in containing the spread of the virus in the islands.
“As we chart a route out of lockdown, it is important that any changes to the restrictions are handled with extreme care and done with the broad consent of communities.

“I was pleased to receive an assurance that, before any changes are made, there will be engagement with the island authorities, to look at these issues and to ensure that any changes are introduced appropriately. The need for physical distancing on ferries, will reduce capacity, this will have a serious impact on who is able to travel and means that access to the islands, will have to be carefully managed for some time.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 28th May 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 27th May 2020

ADDITIONAL ALLOCATION FOR FOUNDATION APPRENTICESHIPS

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, has made additional allocation, within the Foundation Apprenticeship Programme, to meet the changing demand COVID-19, has brought within Education.

Foundation Apprenticeships provide appropriate underpinning knowledge, which will enable young people to progress, to modern and graduate apprenticeship programme, giving employment opportunities, within the local economy and nationally.

Additional spaces have been made available, on seven Foundation Apprenticeships. The apprenticeships are available to pupils entering S4 and S5 in 2020 - in Castlebay School, Sgoil Lionacleit, Sir E Scott School and The Nicolson Institute.

Opportunities are available in Foundation Business Skills, Creative & Digital Media, Engineering, Food and Drink Technologies, Social Services, HealthCare and Gaelic

Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Skills and Children’s Services commented “
For each of the past five years, young people have left Western Isles schools, with SQA vocational qualifications at SCQF5. This is three times the national average. Foundation Apprenticeships are closing the gap, between the classroom and the workplace, with pupils realising the benefits of work-based learning. The apprenticeships also provide a new and innovative career pathway, which encourages more young people to stay on the islands, with the offer of a job closer to home.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 27th May 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 26th May 2020

INCREASE FOR BUSINESS SUPPORT FUND

The Scottish Government’s Business Support Fund, has been increased, to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.
This extra funding will be split between, the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, which has increased by £10 million. Both funds closed to applications on 18 May.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy Fiona Hyslop said: “We are listening to what businesses need. Following the First Minister’s announcement earlier this month, that the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund, would double to £90 million to meet demand, we will now add a further £30 million to help as many businesses as possible, survive these incredibly difficult times.
“Our creative, tourism and hospitality sector, is one where we know there are particular pressures, so we have also increased this fund.
“These funds are supporting businesses the length and breadth of Scotland and continue our commitment to ensure every penny of the additional business money, that has come to Scotland is passed on to support our economy.
“Crucially, we are also focusing our efforts to help those who are not captured by the UK government schemes.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 26th May 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 25th May 2020

ISLAND RENEWABLES’ KEY ROLE IN COVID RECOVERY

The Comhairle’s Chair of Sustainable Development, Cllr Donald Crichton, is calling for the approval of the Western Isles Transmission Link. This development could potentially unlock £2 billion of investment in Western Isles projects. It could also contribute 500MW of green electricity generation, towards the UK’s drive for Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and create much needed jobs in the Western Isles..

Councillor Crichton commented “The Transmission Link and Wind Farms, already consented in the Western Isles, can help power Scotland to a cleaner economic recovery, in the wake of the Coronavirus crisis. The UK Energy Regulator, must now approve the Western Isles Transmission Link, to help Scotland and the rest of the UK, to emerge from the worst economic downturn in 300 years. .

We have shovel ready projects, consented and contracted to Grid, which have been delayed for years, by obscure regulatory blockages. With unemployment set to rise post-COVID and families facing unimaginable economic challenges, now is not the time, to be stalling on £2 billion of private investment, to deliver the Western Isles Transmission Link. We call on the Regulator and Government to take the necessary action.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 25th May 2020