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Also in the news / Benefit payments, analogue phone concern, another award for Loganair and more…

THE SCOTTISH Government says it provided people in Shetland with £1.4 million across 13 Scottish benefits in the last financial year.

Cabinet secretary for social justice Shirley-Anne Sommerville said: “We are supporting families across the country at a time where they are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and higher energy bills.

“We now deliver 13 benefits, seven of which are only available in Scotland, and are delivering these payments while treating people with dignity, fairness and respect.”

She added: “Our decision to expand the Scottish Child Payment to all eligible young people under the age of 16 and increase the payment to £25 per week means we are supporting more than 300,000 children and making a significant contribution to tackling child poverty.

Next week, carer support payment – the 14th benefit Social Security Scotland is becoming responsible for – will begin a phased rollout in Dundee City, Perth and Kinross and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

The new payment will be administered nationally next year and will see 80,000 carers who currently receive carer’s allowance transferred to the new carer support payment.

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has called for government assurances that islanders will not be “left cut off” in the event of power outages after the planned shutdown of the copper wire network.

Concern has been raised that communities could be cut off during longer power cuts with no way to communicate once the replacement “Voice over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) system has taken over by 2025.

The MP described a response from the government that regulator Ofcom will ensure telephone providers will give backup in the event of power outages as “just not good enough”.

“Without intervention businesses are always going to put rural and island communities at the back of the queue – that cannot be acceptable,” he said.

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“This issue is not going away so ministers and Ofcom are going to have to improve their answers. We need a proper plan to maintain resilience in future, whatever happens to the copper network.”

LOGANAIR has won another award – the third in the past two months.

It has picked up the airline of the year prize at the inaugural AGS Awards.

The AGS Group behind the awards features the Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports.

Loganair CEO Jonathan Hinkles said: “This achievement is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of our teams of staff who consistently strive to provide our customers with an exceptional experience.

“This past year has presented its fair share of challenges, and we want to express our sincere appreciation to our customers for their support. That customer trust and loyalty motivates our team hugely.

“We very much look forward to building on this success and working with our airport partners at AGS to continue enhancing our services to customers across our networks.”

LERWICK Town Hall will be lit up blue tonight (Wednesday) to mark Mouth Cancer Action Month.

The so-called Blue Wednesday aims to remind everyone to carry out a quick two-minute check of their mouth and neck for any signs or symptoms of mouth cancer.

The earlier mouth cancer is detected, the easier and more successful it is to treat.

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