Local News for Tuesday 17th May 2016

Jobs to come in HIE forecast
Highlands and Islands Enterprise are predicting up to 100 jobs kept or created in the Callanish area over the next three years, in an announcement about the 2015/16 year’s figures. They estimate that 130 jobs will have been created or retained in the Outer Hebrides because of their investment in the past year,  pointing to major projects in Lochboisdale, where a new Port of Entry was opened in September and in Harris, where 17 jobs were created at the Isle of Harris Distillery in Tarbert. Work will start soon at the HIE owned site at Breasclete, where BASF Callanish Ltd is expanding and 80 high quality jobs will be supported, with 20 more in the life science sector in the next three years. Other potential expansion areas are in the creative industries, food and drink and tourism. There’s been £300,000 investment at Harris Tweed Hebrides for a major expansion project which aims to create up to ten jobs. HIE also funds local development officer posts in North Uist, Barra, Galson, Lochs and Harris.

Union demo over CalMac contract
Members of the RMT union will demonstrate outside Holyrood on Thursday, to coincide with the re-assembly after the elections earlier this month. The winning bid for the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Services contract is due by 31st May and the union wants to keep up pressure to support public sector operator CalMac against the only other bidder, private company Serco. The RMT are asking which way the Scottish Government will go with this crucial decision.  The union has contacted sister CalMac unions, the STUC and all MSPs in the new parliament to alert them to RMT's plan to raise public awareness. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “We want to put all MSPs on the spot as to whether they support the CalMac bid or the Serco bid. The Scottish Government have a simple choice when it comes to the lifeline ferry routes – they either back their own staff who run the lines in the public interest, or they back the profit-driven Serco brand. This is a massive decision that will set the tone for this new SNP administration and RMT will continue to jack up the pressure for Scotland's public services to be run for the public benefit and not as a private, money-making racket."
Warning to business over scam
Trading Standards are again warning island businesses about a scam letter headed " UK-Data Control" Scotland Business. The letter is headed "Missing information about your VAT registration Number" and is designed to look official.  It includes a form for the business to sign and return to an address in Hamburg. The small print states that by responding to verify their VAT registration number, businesses will be agreeing to a charge of £790 a year, for a minimum of three years, for entry onto the publishers website. Trading standards officers originally issued a warning about this scam in March 2015 but are concerned that local traders may have already signed and returned the forms and may now be receiving demands for payment. For further advice please contact trading Standards on 01851 822694