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News round-up / SNP spending criticised, American investment, car insurance claims, students travel for free

Househiolds were inundated with election leaflets during the by-election campaign. Photo: Shetland News

THE LIBERAL Democrats have hit out at the SNP for spending more on the Shetland Scottish Parliament by-election than during the 2016 EU referendum.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said it was “disappointing” that the SNP spent around £99,000 during the by-election compared to just over £90,000 in the EU referendum campaign – “but hardly surprising considering how much lucre they flashed around in the Northern Isles over the summer”.

“Apparently one more vote for independence in Holyrood was worth more to the nationalists than their European values,” he said. “It’s a shame they don’t put their money where their mouth is.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “It’s no secret that we put all our effort into the election and we gave the Lib Dems a real run for their money in Scotland’s safest seat.

“That’s why our campaign was a huge success – as we increased our vote share by 50 per cent while the Lib Dem vote fell by around a third.”

AN AMERICAN investor has bought a majority share in AquaShip, a wellboat service company formed by the merger of Vidlin based Johnson Marine and Norwegian firm Gripship.

The investment by Amerra Capital will allow the Kristiansand based company to grow further and expand into the American market.

In a press statement chief executive Sverre Christian Taknes said the cash injection had “significantly strengthened the balance sheet, and thus is strongly equipped for further growth through new construction contracting, acquisition and purchase of second-hand tonnage”.

“AquaShip has the experience to operate, design and build maritime aqua-service vessels, but prior to the new partnership with Amerra, we did not have the necessary funds and institutional support to scale our efforts,” he added.

SHETLAND is among the areas with the lowest claim rates on car insurance across the UK, according to research from MoneySuperMarket.

The claim rate in Shetland is on average just 29.81 per 1,000, the third lowest with just Kirkwall and the Isle of Lewis slightly better. The highest claim rates were recorded in Watford at 56.80 claims per 1,000 enquiries.

MoneySuperMarket looked into 17.8 million car insurance enquiries broken down by postcode areas.

The company says the best way to save money on car insurance is to build up a healthy no claims discount which could save up to 24 per cent in premiums.

STUDENTS at the University of the Highlands and Islands are being offered the chance to attend a march on a people’s Brexit vote in London this weekend at no cost.

The offer is being arranged by the Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA), with a bus leaving Inverness overnight on Friday.

The march is taking place in London on Saturday (19 October).

HISA Lews Castle College depute Florence Jansen said: “Being able to attend the people’s vote in London is so important for students from UHI, especially island communities. It’s not always easy to stand up for our beliefs, however, we are living in one of the areas that will be most impacted by Brexit.”