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In brief – 3 February, 2010

Gun reloaded

THE MARCH concert featuring top Scottish rockers Gun has been postponed due to NorthLink’s drydock schedule.

The recently reformed group will now appear at Burra public hall on 27 March instead of 5 March as part of their Popkiller tour. The change of dates leaves the band free to support Lynyrd Skynyrd on their UK arena tour.

Original tickets are still valid for the new date or refunds can be obtained from the Shetland Box Office, where tickets are still available.


Bring back croft loans

THE SCOTTISH Crofting Foundation is seeking assurance from the Scottish government about proposals to change from fixed to variable interest rates on croft house loans.

SCF director Donald MacDonald pointed out that interest rates can go up as well as down. “We really need to know how much above base rate borrowers will be charged, and how often the Scottish government will review the interest rate,” he said.

He also reiterated the call for the crofter housing loan to be reintroduced, as recommended by the Scottish Parliament rural housing inquiry and the Shucksmith Report.

“The loan was affordable and, at a fixed rate, could be budgeted for. Instances of default are negligible. We urge the government to look again at this during the passage of the Crofting Reform Bill,” he said.


See me

A NATIONAL campaign to end stigma and discrimination around mental ill-health is launching a grants scheme.

The ‘see me’ small grants scheme is awarding up to £5,000 to groups in Shetland who can come up with fresh, innovative and exciting ideas to change public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems.

Campaign director Suzie Vestri said: “We are looking for projects that aim to promote positive images of mental health through mediums such as sport and physical health activities or working with a local artist through creative arts, song, music drama and dance.”

The closing date for submissions is Friday 12 March 2010. Information on how to enter is at


Ducks are ducks

Commenting on reports that Royal Bank of Scotland is to allow its senior bankers to convert a large proportion of their payments into cash, northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael said: “This will look very much like simply paying bonuses in cash to any normal person.

“If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a bonus. Today’s RBS proposals look like big bonuses and will be seen as big bonuses by the taxpayers who helped the banks. 

“With countries around the world taking action on bonuses, the argument that RBS needs to throw vast sums of money at its top bankers to keep them in their jobs is entirely unconvincing.

“Stephen Hester should remember that RBS is effectively a state-owned bank backed by taxpayers, millions of whom have lost their jobs or seen their pay frozen. RBS bosses must be living on another planet if they think the public will stand for this.”