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Also in the news / No cut on VAT on fuel bills, trustees week, Labour MSP on HIAL and more…

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has expressed disappointment after it emerged that the UK Government will not cut VAT – currently at five per cent – on energy bills as previously indicated as one of the benefits of coming out of the EU.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

The MP said wholesale energy prices have risen significantly in recent months amid fears of a “winter of discontent” with wages failing to keep up with the cost of living.

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“The Prime Minister and his pals had no hesitation in telling people they would scrap VAT on energy back during the Brexit campaign but now show contempt for the idea that they ought to deliver,” Carmichael said.

“They have harvested the pleas of people desperate to escape fuel poverty, with no intent to repay.

“If now is not the time to scrap VAT on household energy bills – in the midst of soaring energy prices and a cost-of-living crisis – then we have to ask if it will ever be the right time. Indeed the excuses coming from the government suggest that they never intended to make good on their promises.”

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VOLUNTARY Action Shetland (VAS) is gearing up to celebrate Trustees Week from 1 to 5 November in the hope of encouraging more people to come forward and take up a voluntary role in the community.

The work of trustees and volunteers has never been more important than during the pandemic, a spokesperson for VAS Shetland said.

“Trustees have stepped up to make difficult decisions for their organisations, their staff and volunteers, and the people they supported.”

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To find out more about the roles and what it takes to be a trustee, VAS is hosting a free online Q&A session next Tuesday (2 November) between 7pm and 8.40pm.

Anyone interested in participating is asked register and send in questions in advance to  vas.training@shetland.org


HIGHLANDS and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant has cautiously welcomed the announcement from HIAL that it has opened productive talks with the Prospect union and its members over its controversial plans to centralise air traffic control in Inverness.

Grant said: “It is to be welcomed that HIAL have finally agreed to sit round the table. One of my biggest concerns, among many, through this whole process has been HIAL’s refusal to properly engage with its staff on both their futures and on the safety and robustness of the plans, things with its staff have invaluable expertise on.

“It is yet to be seen whether they are coming to these discussions in good faith and with a willingness to adapt to the myriad concerns and flaws which have been identified, but by at least being willing to talk about these issues now HIAL has taken a step in the right direction.

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“My growing concern now is, that because of the level of resistance from the local communities HIAL may try to take the long patient approach: phasing out the Air Traffic Control jobs from these communities as they become naturally vacant, acclimatising communities to drops in local service provision bit by bit and resulting in a long term loss of high quality jobs in rural areas.”


Murdo MacIver.

ENERGY logistics provider Peterson has announced that the company’s chief operating officer Murdo MacIver will retire at the end of 2021.

MacIver will continue to support the Royal Peterson and Control Union Group on a consultancy basis following his retirement from Peterson Energy Logistics.

He joined Peterson in 2008, following the acquisition of SBS Logistics where he was a director, having previously been part of a management buyout of the SBS Logistics business.

MacIver said: “I’m proud to be leaving Peterson Energy Logistics in a very strong position and I believe this is the right time to hand over to a new leadership team within the company, which will be led by Sarah Moore as CEO from 2022.”

Company chief executive Erwin Kooij said he wanted to place on record his gratitude to MacIver for all he has done for the company and the industry.


LERWICK has emerged as the UK postcode area with the least number of speeding offences, according to data unearthed by leasing company Wessex Fleet.

A response to a Freedom of Information request to the DVLA reveals that 561 motorists in the ZE postcode area currently have an endorsement for speeding on their driving licences – the lowest number in the UK.

According to the same set of data, Birmingham tops the list with 91,566 offences recorded, while across the UK 3.3 million have driving fines on their licence.

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