The Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell, is to move at next week’s Policy and Resources Committee for a report on an inter-island Air Discount Scheme to be operated in a similar way to that operated for flights to and from Scottish Islands. This would mean that public authorities, including the Health Board and the Comhairle, would pay the full fares on air flights whilst members of the public would pay a reduced rate.
The Leader will ask for the report to include looking at how the revenues generated could be used to support or increase island air services although this would have to be assessed against existing and new priorities.
In addition, the Comhairle is asking the Outer Hebrides Commerce Group and the Community Councils on Barra to, bring forward as previously agreed their evidence of the impact on the economy of the reductions in air services which resulted from the Comhairle’s budget decisions.
The Comhairle is also to ask NHS Western Isles to outline fully any impact on health services that have resulted from the changes in air services.
Mr Campbell said: “The Comhairle will not unravel its budget and the decisions made at the time which followed extensive public consultation. Any enhancement of services will have to be as a result of new revenues. One way of doing that may be to look at a new discount scheme and I will be asking officials to prepare a report looking at that and the possibility of using new revenues on air services.
I also want us to examine in detail the impact on health services and will be asking the Health Board to provide that information.
It is also important that we have the fullest information possible on the economic impact of the reductions in air services including any matters not previously considered and both the Outer Hebrides Commerce group and the Community Councils on Barra have been working on that. It was previously agreed that we would consider that evidence”.
The Policy and Resources Committee is on Thursday 12th September.