SNP MP Angus MacNeil has met with Transport Scotland auditors to discuss the proposals that HIAL have to remove jobs from the islands to centralise in Inverness, which has an extra cost to the public purse of £2 million each and every year going forward.

Commenting Angus MacNeil said:

“I had a fruitful discussion with Transport Scotland Auditors today to understand what role they will play in this process. They will audit the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland’s costs of HIAL’s project, but they cannot intervene as such. They are referees rather than active players.

“This is the first time I have met auditors about government expenditure. This shows how concerned I am about the obvious waste of public money coming down the track.

“One thing I was anxious to impress was that we don’t want a result on this afterwards which says that this is going to cost an awful lot more, once the jobs have been removed from the islands and HIAL have completed community vandalism in the islands. Hopefully, common sense will prevail and the cheaper options that have been put forward by air traffic controllers themselves and the union Prospect, will be looked at as options.

“Hopefully, this is something the Transport Minister, Graeme Day, will look at. It would be a great feather in his cap if he can save the government £2 million each and every year. It would also reassure the communities. We don’t want to see something which is technically questionable, which might cause staff turnover, and which has no legislative basis from the UK Government, yet will cause community damage and a cost to the government. That is at least five good reasons why this should not be going ahead.”