Investment is pointless if government turns its back on high-value islands jobs

23 July 2020

The Scottish and UK governments have today each announced a £50 million investment package in the Scottish islands’ economies.

This is, of course, welcome but this headline and the rhetoric do not match with the actuality of Scottish government policy on the islands.

Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) is pressing ahead with plans to centralise air traffic control for the islands to Inverness. This would mean the loss of £15m in direct employment and high value jobs in the island economies.

David Avery, Prospect negotiator, responded to the announcement:

“Investment in the islands is vital to maintain those thriving communities but if the government turns its back on high-value jobs in those areas then what is the point?

“HIAL, with the full approval of the Scottish Government, is currently pressing on with its plans to move air traffic control operations from  the communities they serve to a central hub.

“This will remove £15 million of direct employment from the islands which goes against the Islands plan and suggest that despite this investment today, the government is not serious about doing what is required.

“It’s time HIAL dropped these damaging and unnecessary plans to centralise air traffic in Inverness, and worked with their staff to deploy a world class service in each of the islands.”