Local News for Tuesday 24th October 2017

Small business key to island success
Nearly twice as many working islanders are self-employed than in the rest of Scotland, according to a submission to government made yesterday by the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland. FSB Scotland is to tell a committee at Holyrood that island businesses want younger local populations, better transport links and much improved broadband. Their calls are based on research with 275 island firms, carried out in the Western Isles, Shetland, Orkney and others of the 93 inhabited Scottish islands ahead of planned legislation aimed at giving island authorities new powers. David Richardson, the FSB’s Development Manager for the Highlands and Islands said: “The prosperity of a local place is intertwined with the ongoing success of its local business community. While this rings true across the country, it is particularly the case for Scotland’s island communities.” FSB highlights census data showing that 13 per cent of Scottish island residents work for themselves, in comparison to a national average of 7 per cent. Keeping young people in the islands, providing good services for tourists and improving connectivity are all issues they highlight. Mr Richardson is giving evidence to the Rural Economy committee tomorrow. He said: “Our research shows that one in five islands business owners has considered moving to the mainland. To state the obvious, the long-term success of island communities require their local private sectors to thrive, to power job creation, local growth and to retain and attract younger residents.”

No rest for Stornoway Coastguards
Stornoway Coastguard Volunteers were in action once again on Sunday night, when they were called on by Western Isles Police to help in the search for three missing walkers on the Clisham. The team had already been on duty for training with other volunteer coastguard teams from Ness and South Lochs when, at lunchtime, they were asked to man the landing site at Western Isles Hospital for Coastguard Helicopter R948 with a cardiac casualty from Saint Kilda. Then, at 5.30pm they were called, with Coastguard Rescue Teams from Tarbert, Scalpay, South Lochs and Hebrides Mountain Rescue Team, to help look for a group of people lost with their dog in the North Harris hills. The casualties were located and winched out by Stornoway Coastguard rescue helicopter R948 and landed on the main road, where they were looked after by the volunteer teams and assessed by Scottish Ambulance staff. The walkers were confirmed to be uninjured and all units stood down.