Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has welcomed yet another nail in the coffin to HIAL’s ill-thought, island-damaging plans for empire building at Inverness Airport. HIAL’s plans which would cost the public purse £2.5 million extra, each and every year, are now seen for the ill-conceived, ill-thought through concepts they always were.
Mr MacNeil, who has just written to Audit Scotland to look into this huge potential waste of public money, advises HIAL to confine this nonsense to the dustbin now and for government to get a grip over the wayward waste of public money which has cost us £6.5 million to get to the point of understanding that removing jobs from islands and harming communities is not the way for a Scottish Government agency to go.
Commenting Mr MacNeil said:
“Currently our airports provide excellent local jobs with no issues of staff retention, particularly when local staff are recruited, in both Stornoway and Benbecula. The money that HIAL have wasted so far could have upgraded all our airports and secured these jobs with a lot less ongoing cost to the public purse.
“Islands will be particularly impacted with a loss of high quality jobs in the community if the high cost alternative of centralising in Inverness were to go ahead. Our fragile islands will lose population, this is surely not something that Scottish Government Ministers will sit back and let happen, playing Pontus Pilate is not a responsible option where fragile communities are concerned. Currently our airlines, our ferry companies, our crofting commission, even the board of the Gaelic language are headquartered off the islands, and so much more besides. Regardless of politics everyone needs to rally around and lend support to the issue for keeping these jobs on the islands.
“If HIAL don’t drop these plans, Audit Scotland needs to investigate at least two alternatives that are cheaper than HIAL’s pet project and which would keep jobs on the islands. However, hopefully these plans will be consigned to the dustbin of history and our communities can breathe a sigh of relief, with the government saving many millions annually in the process.”