Statement on BiFab from Rhoda Grant MSP

13 February 2018 Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has said Scottish Labour will work with the SNP Government and trade unions to try to save any threatened jobs at BiFab’s Arnish site on Lewis. She was commenting after reports of possible job losses at BiFab with union Unite warning that an estimated 260 workers could lose their jobs at yards operated by the company in Fife and Arnish. “Workers and their families are rightly very concerned about the future of their jobs and there needs to be immediate action by the Scottish Government to see what can be done to help them,” said Mrs Grant. “Workers at BiFab have proved their tenacity at working throughout a crisis and must be dismayed that it may all come to an end very soon.   Continue reading

Stromeferry Bypass

  9 February 2018 As most know I have been heavily involved in the Stromeferry Bypass issue for many years. I have always tried to keep you up to date with my work on this issue. Today I made contact with Colin Howell the Head of Infrastructure at Highland Council to obtain an update. He kindly provided the following: “ The last update I gave to the community through a request from Rhoda Grant MSP, I advised that with regard to the longer term solution to the Stromeferry Bypass, the targeted STAG stage 2 was submitted to Transport Scotland, including the work that HITRANS have commissioned to review the viability of a long term road and rail sharing operation.   Continue reading

Continuing concerns for MSP over HIAL Air Traffic plans

23 January 2018 Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is deeply concerned that the announce from HIAL to move their Air Traffic Control operations from the local airport control tower to that of a virtual network controlled from a centralised location. HIAL’s Managing Director, Inglis Lyon announced last week that the company are looking to invest £28 Million in the pursuit of virtual control towers which will see a centralised control facility based at one of their airports leaving the others without locally based Air Traffic Controllers. HIAL employed the consultancy firm Helios to review its Air Traffic Management operations last year and have decided to adopt the firm’s recommendations to move towards broadband based virtual control towers. Mr Lyon suggested that controversial move would in some way help to “future proof” HIAL’s operations. The MSP said, “I met with Inglis Lyon last April about virtual control towers and was given the assurance that no decisions had been made. Continue reading

Islands (Scotland) Bill speech in Parliament

  8 February 2018  Rhoda's speech in the Scottish Parliament Bill debate  We on the Labour benches are happy to support the Islands (Scotland) Bill. It has the potential to make a step change in how islands are governed by empowering them to make decisions that affect their own future.  However, the bill as it stands is far too timid and will achieve nothing unless it is strengthened.  As David Stewart said, the bill is a tribute to the work of the three islands councils and their vision in the our islands, our future campaign.  I hope that we can strengthen the bill to realise their dream.  We need high-level objectives in the bill, but I was disappointed to hear that the minister appears not to be keen on that.  At the moment, the bill is simply warm words.  It needs to be clear about why we are legislating.  Continue reading

Rhoda calls for additional ferry for Stornoway to Ullapool route

  17 February 2018 Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has been continuing the fight for an additional ferry for the overbooked life line service between Stornoway and Ullapool. Islanders and visitors alike were faced with fully booked sailings between Stornoway and Ullapool during many months of last year.She met with Calmac chiefs as well as Council leaders in an attempt to have the situation resolved and a second vessel operating primarily as a Freight Ferry put in place.The MSP stated “It is a widely accepted fact that there is simply not enough capacity on this vital life line route during many months of the year. "This has a huge effect on the normal life of the Islanders as well as a detrimental effect on the wider economic environment. "Businesses are fearful that many of their bookings which have been made for this coming season will suffer as they did last year. "They fear that the attraction of visiting the Islands will decrease as the tourists find it impossible to travel and then have to plan to go elsewhere. Continue reading