Local News for Tuesday 28th August 2018

MSP CALLS FOR TRANSPARENCY OVER MV LOCH SEAFORTH
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has called for transparency in the funding and ownership row surrounding the MV Loch Seaforth.
Rhoda Grant MSP said ‘we have recently witnessed debilitating situations with ferries, being removed from service without consultation, suffering a major mid-sailing breakdown of the fleets flagship vessel, without proper answers. We are now subject to the revelation that CMAL does not, and appears never to be able to, own the MV Loch Seaforth.
The MSP continued: ‘As if this wasn’t enough, CMAL, the “asset” arm of this regime then sign a lease deal with Lloyd’s Bank and sub lease it to Calmac Ferries Ltd, who are actually trying to run the ferry company.

The SNP Government through CMAL pay a rental for 8 years for the vessel of around £53 Million pounds of taxpayer’s money. The SNP Government then sublease the vessel from CMAL to Calmac Ferries Limited for the same amount of time.
The deal which ends in 2022 requires that the MV Loch Seaforth, be returned to Lloyd’s in an “as new” condition What happens after the lease runs out?
Mrs Grant concluded, "There has to be full and immediate investigation into this arrangement. We require transparency from the Scottish Government on this deal.”


LEWS CASTLE INNOVATION CENTRE OPEN
Lews Castle College’s new Innovation Centre opened to the public last week – and founding sponsors, Point and Sandwick Trust spoke about how “delighted” they were to help the centre come to fruition.
The launch, in the foyer of the college, was attended by around 50 people, including MSP Alasdair Allan, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar chief executive Malcolm Burr, students and staff from the college, media representatives and members of the public.
Point and Sandwick Trust (PST) donated £20,000 to the centre out of the profits from its community-owned wind farm at Beinn Ghrideag, just outside Stornoway.
The centre is the brainchild of engineer Dr Chris Macleod and provides training, advice and development facilities for people who would like to start their own business and / or want to learn more about technology.
It is now open for business to members of the public and community groups but has been working with college students and staff, as well as schoolchildren through the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) project, since last year.
The majority of services will be free at the point of use and anyone who is interested in hearing about how the centre could help them is asked to email Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SCOTLAND - KEEP UP ON PET SALES REFORMS
OneKind, one of Scotland’s Animal Campaign charities has welcomed the recent announcement by Environment Secretary Michael Gove that the UK government intends to ban third party puppy and kitten sales in England.
In Scotland, the Scottish Government pledged in last year’s Programme for Government to improve the licensing regime, so that conditions in Scottish breeding units can be properly controlled and breeders identified. The Scottish Government also plans a new communications campaign to make people aware of the risks of buying puppies online and rehoming dogs from abroad.
A consultation has just closed on a proposal for a Member’s Bill by Christine Grahame MSP, which takes a wide-ranging approach to making both vendor and purchaser more responsible for the long-term welfare of the puppy.
However, none of the measures under discussion specifically includes a proposal to ban third party sales of puppies or kittens at this time.