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News round-up / Air passenger duty exemption to continue, CLAN shop haul, helicopter pilots vote to strike

Flights from airports in the Highlands and Islands are exempt from air passenger duty (APD).

GOVERNMENT agency Transport Scotland has confirmed that Tuesday’s u-turn on its policy of scrapping air passenger duty (APD) on flights leaving Scottish airports will have no impact on the existing Highlands and Islands exemption.

Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston had raised concern that the exemption could also be scrapped on climate change grounds

“As a member for the Highlands and Islands, and an Orcadian, I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of the APD exemption and the wider positive impact for the region.

“It has been crucial to the growth of services in and out of my region; a region where flights, especially those serving the islands, can still be prohibitively expensive,” the list MSP said.

But a spokesman for Transport Scotland said on Wednesday that flights from airports in the Highlands and Islands would continue to be exempt from APD.


Betty Sutherland with her haul of goodies from the CLAN cancer support charity shop.

VOE woman Betty Sutherland has been announced of the proud winner of the local CLAN Cancer Support charity shop’s first ever Easter window prize draw.

Betty carried away the entire contents of a window display, including a sizeable haul of prizes donated by a range of local businesses.

To enter the draw all shoppers at the well-supported charity shop had to do was to spend £5 or more on one transaction.

All proceeds raised by the CLAN charity shop go towards services and therapies for local cancer sufferers and their families.

The CLAN support centre in Magnus Street now offers free complimentary therapies to cancer sufferers as well as other services.

The charity is also holding a volunteer recruitment evening on Thursday 16 May between 5pm and 7pm in the CLAN centre.

For more information, contact Jolene Engum on jolene.engum@clanhouse.org or telephone 01595 720320.


NORTH Sea helicopter pilots working for CHC Scotia have voted in favour of industrial action in a dispute over pay.

No strike dates have been set yet, but industrial action could affect bases at Sumburgh, Aberdeen, Humberside and Norwich s of 21 May.

A ballot conducted among members of the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) returned a 94 per cent vote for in favour of strike action and an unanimous mandate in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

General secretary of the trade union, Brian Strutton, said: “Despite months of negotiations, the company have failed to offer a pay deal acceptable to our members, which is why we took the decision to ballot for industrial action.

“We are hopeful the company will put an acceptable offer on the table before we have to act on the mandate we received today.”

A spokesperson for CHC said the company will “continue to negotiate with BALPA to find a mutually acceptable agreement”.