News round-up / Electoral review underway, another college strike, MP asks for marine and tidal commitment

Shetland's North Isles ward.

A CONSULTATION on electoral arrangements for councils in Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles has begun.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland review will run until 20 May.

Its 2019 review of electoral arrangements will make proposals for the six council areas specified in the Scottish Government’s new Islands Act – Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands.

The reviews will result in recommendations for the number of councillors on each council, as well as the number and boundaries of wards for the election of those councillors, the commission said.

The new islands legislation allows for use of one or two member wards, in addition to the current three and four member wards, where a ward includes an inhabited island.

Commission chairman Ronnie Hinds said: “It is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils are effective and that our proposals deliver on requirements for electoral parity and, as far as possible, take account of local ties and special geographical considerations.”


LECTURERS at Shetland College will go on strike for a fourth time on Thursday in an ongoing national dispute over pay.

EIS FELA union members want what they say is a fair wage settlement rather than a 2.5 per cent pay increase over three years offered by the Scottish Government.

Shetland College lecturers during a previous strike. Photo: Peter Johnson/Shetland News

Though college staff are paid by the Shetland Islands Council, the money for any increase will come from the Scottish Funding Council.

Union members are also being balloted on escalation for action short of a strike, with the EIS FELA recommendation being for members to vote in favour of a resulting boycott and the withdrawal of goodwill.

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Shetland College told its students: “Unless advised otherwise by your lecturer all scheduled classes will be cancelled, however the college will be open to students with library, support services and the canteen operating as normal.”

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has pressed the UK Government to ensure that marine and tidal renewables are part of its energy strategy.

A white paper outlining the government’s strategy on energy has been long mooted and Carmichael asked at the House of Commons for the government to “ensure that the potential for marine renewable energy generation is fully recognised when that white paper comes to publication”.

Responding on behalf of the government, energy minister Claire Perry said: “I don’t want to pre-empt the white paper, but one of the things we will show in that is how the ongoing attempts to be technology neutral to try and work across the piece to generate low cost, low carbon and highly competitive technologies will be part of that.

“We remain interested in marine and tidal as the Rt. Hon. Gentleman knows. Of course we need to discuss with the treasury any support mechanisms, but I do want to continue to engage with the sector on a long term basis.”

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