17th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Meeting held over Sumburgh parking charges

An apparent softening of tone has emerged after crunch talks between council and airport representatives in the latest instalment of the Sumburgh Airport parking charges fiasco.

Council leaders have met Hial staff to discuss the plans to roll out the £3 a day charge due to face motorists from the beginning of next month.

Political leader Steven Coutts was attending the meeting along with environment and transport and ZetTrans chairman Ryan Thomson. Chief executive Maggie Sandison was also present.

SIC leaders have now said they are “not convinced” government subsidies needed for airport operations were being applied fairly.

Mr Coutts said in a statement: “The meeting today was constructive and achieved a better understanding of the constraints of Hial’s operations and their challenges of maintaining 11 airports.

“Sumburgh’s growth is a success story and has reduced its call on subsidy. The airport is our lifeline link and we believe Hial should be properly funded to maintain the operation for island residents.

Mr Thomson added: “We are not convinced that the subsidy is being applied fairly and equitably across the Hial network.

“For example, Dundee Airport, with just two scheduled flights today, last year received a revenue subsidy of around £2.5 million, yet is not a lifeline link.

“We call on our Transport and Islands Minister to ensure that with the passing of the Islands Bill into law, he will ensure that the Hial subsidy distribution is ‘island-proofed’.”

Hial’s managing director Inglis Lyon said: “I think both sides understand each other’s position much more clearly after our meeting and I am grateful to Shetland Islands Council for their time today.

“We will continue our ongoing dialogue with council officers around technical issues to ensure a mutually satisfactory resolution.”

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

View other stories by »

15 comments

  1. Ali Inkster

    Money goes to them that toe the party line. It always has and always will. The socialists and national socialists of Scotland will use our money to buy votes in the central belt as long as we continue to let them.

    Reply
    • Graham Fleming

      How does Shetland have the highest public sector workforce in Scotland then?

      Reply
      • Mr ian Tinkler

        Graham Fleming, It does not, Simples. How you love to make up little stories. Glasgow’s public sector workforce is probably higher than Shetland’s entire population.

      • fraser cluness

        is that a bad thing? That’s why we have such great services up here next to what they have in some regions of Scotland

      • Ali Inkster

        One which we could easily afford, if we weren’t subsidising the scoti uk and European parliament s

      • Christopher Johnston

        I assume that Graham Fleming meant highest percentage of government employees in relationship to the local population.
        Government is the employer of last resort in Shetland. If you cannot win a job in private industry, then a friend of a friend of a friend or relative will put in a good word for you to someone in government.
        For those who thinks a high government employment rate is acceptable, consider this scenario. Everyone works for government and pays 25% of their income in taxes. From where does the other 75% of the money needed to pay them come?

      • Graham Fleming

        Shetland Orkney and Dumbartonshire have about 34% employed in the public sector eclipsed only by Eilean Siar on 36%.The statement about central belt bias when the Scottish average is 21.5% is a bit of the mark.Higher public sector expenditures in my opinion is justified in our island communities such as BBC Alba which has helped focus minds to our remotest areas ,this year looks to be a record year for tourism.A similar opt out for the Northern Isles and Borders areas in the new BBC Scottish tv station for news and local cultural variations would put us on the map too.

      • Ali Inkster

        So Shetland doesn’t have the highest public sector workforce in Scotland then?

      • Mr ian Tinkler

        So Graham’s comment “How does Shetland have the highest public sector workforce in Scotland then?” was yet another fiction from a Natty!!!

  2. Ian Tinkler

    Assume nothing from Graham Fleming, he usually makes it all up. he is a Natty boy!

    Reply
    • Graham Fleming

      One shouldn’t judge everyone else on your own stàndards.

      Reply
  3. David Spence

    I may be wrong, but isn’t the SIC employing roughly 8% of the working population? How would this compare with other Local Authorities? I suspect the percentages would be considerably lower?

    However, given Shetlands location and isolation, it is not surprising a higher percentage of the working population is under the Local Authority?

    Reply
    • Christopher Johnston

      According to SIC’s Final Equalities Employment Data Report, SIC employed 2,262 Full Time Equivalent staff on 31 March, 2016 a – over three years ago. I expect the number to be larger now.
      Total Shetland workforce was 12,800 at the end of 2017.
      2,262/12,800 = 17.7 %
      I suspect the total would be over 40% when you add all the various other parts of Council (such as SIT and SCT), NHS, Scots and UK government employees.

      Reply
      • David Spence

        Thank you Chris, for the stats. It is quite startling that nearly 1 person in every 5 is a council worker. It would be interesting to compare this with Orkney, Hebrides, Isle of White, Isle of Man and see how Shetland is on the graph, so to speak.

      • Christopher Johnston

        I found some additional information of interest. NHS Shetland does not publicise its total employee count, but NHS Orkney states they have 750 FTEs so, since Shetland is a bit more populated, let’s assume NHS Shetland has 800.
        2,262 + 800 = 3,062.
        3,062/12,800 = 24%. So one of every four working is employed by SIC or NHS.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.