Local News for Monday 7th January 2019

HIGHLANDS & ISLANDS MEDIA AWARDS FINALISTS REVEALED

The shortlists for the Highlands and Islands Media Awards have been revealed and finalists now face a tantalising wait to find out who has scooped the prestigious trophies.

Judges had the onerous task of assessing 109 entries in 11 sections covering newspaper, online and broadcast news stories and features, as well as the year’s top photographs.

Some of those on the shortlists include:

For the BORD NA GAIDHLIG AWARD - Darren Laing & Alasdair MacLeod, BBC Alba.
For the BEST USE OF DIGITAL MEDIA - Hebrides News.
For the PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR - Willie Urquhart, West Highland Free Press.
For the REPORTER OF THE YEAR - JIM LOVE MEMORIAL AWARD – Iain MacInnes, BBC and for the COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER OF THE YEAR Loch a Tuath News, Isle of Lewis & The Rudhach, Isle of Lewis.

The winners will be announced at the Highlands and Islands Press Ball and Media Awards, to be held on Friday, 1st February at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness.




ISLANDS MSP SLAMS UK GOVERNMENT IMMIGRATION PROPOSALS

Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar has said the UK government’s proposals on immigration, will damage the islands’ economy, communities, NHS and public services.

The Tories plan to introduce a £30,000-a-year minimum salary threshold for EU nationals, promising to cut net migration to the UK to ‘tens of thousands’.

Median gross annual pay in the Western Isles is less than £20,000. The UK government’s proposals could result in an 85% reduction in the number of European workers coming to Scotland – with Scottish Government modelling suggesting a fall of almost £6.8 billion a year in GDP by 2040 as a result.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan said: ‘Our NHS and care sector here in the Islands have difficulties already when it comes to finding staff. These Tory proposals will cause serious damage for our public services – it is absolutely vital that we continue to attract people to live and work here.

‘If the UK government are intent on implementing their damaging post-Brexit immigration plans, then the Scottish Parliament must be handed control of migration powers to protect Scotland's specific interests.’


TAX DEADLINE AT END OF MONTH FOR SOME ISLANDERS

Islanders and others are being reminded by HMRC that around 5,542,000 taxpayers have less than a month to complete their Self-Assessment tax returns before the 31st January deadline.
In total, more than 11.5 million 2017/18 tax returns are due and HMRC expects the vast majority of taxpayers to complete their returns and pay any tax owed by the end of the month.

Approximately 52% of taxpayers have already filed their returns, as of 31st December 2018, and more than 5 million have completed their returns online (88% of the total returns filed).

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mel Stride, said:

‘HMRC is encouraging all Self Assessment filers to complete their returns by 31 January and is offering support every step of the way.’

Help is available online at GOV.UK or from the Self Assessment helpline on 0300 200 3310 and on social media.