20th October 2018
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Convener to protest over exclusion from scheme to provide cheaper fuel

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SIC convener Sandy Cluness is to write to Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy urging him to include Shetland in a pilot scheme to provide cheaper fuel to residents.

Mr Murphy caused anger earlier in the week by suggesting that the scheme should only include the Argyll and Bute islands and hinting that Shetland had not lobbied hard enough to be included.

The issue was discussed as an additional item on the agenda of Wednesday’s special Full Council meeting on the conflict of interests councillors face over the Viking Energy windfarm.

Councillor Gary Robinson said he resented the insinuation that Shetland had not worked hard enough to deserve inclusion in the pilot scheme.

“I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had MPs, plural, fighting for some years over this on our behalf, our MSP has continued to fight our case on it, and I find it quite frankly unpleasant that Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy should ask local authorities to compete to become involved in this pilot scheme.

“There are precedents for this all across Europe so I question any need for a pilot scheme and I would like to ask the convener to write on our behalf asking that he considers rolling this out to all the island regions.”

Mr Cluness agreed, adding:  “It is the one thing that would make a big difference to remote areas, it goes completely along with everything we’re trying to do with the economy and everything else.”

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