Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has said it is ‘disappointing’ that the Western Isles has missed out on money awarded under the Scottish Government’s Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) scheme.
The Comhairle had put in bids to fund a community share in the Stornoway Wind Farm project (£17m) and for assisting in the restoration of Lews Castle (£1.7m)
The scheme allows successful councils to fund infrastructure projects by borrowing against the future business rate income that will be generated by the resulting development. The Scottish Government agreed to support up to six pilot projects.
Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said: “It is disappointing that the merits of the Western Isles projects have not been recognised. These were good projects and good bids. I am particularly disappointed that, with the exception of Argyll and Bute, this scheme seems to be overwhelmingly favouring central belt areas of Scotland. These cash injections for Edinburgh, Fife, Falkirk and North Lanarkshire will not be transformational in the way that they would be in remote, deprived areas such as the Western Isles. £82 million for Edinburgh, whilst a substantial amount of money, will not have the impact, in terms of jobs, that a few million would have had for the Western Isles. This is an issue we will be raising with the Scottish Government and I would urge the Minister to honour his commitment to a better geographical spread in future funding rounds.
In the meantime we will work with the Scottish Government to explore alternative funding routes.“