Highlands & Islands

Western isles council wants enterprise role

The Scottish government has been asked to transfer an enterprise agency's responsibilities and budget for the Western Isles to the islands' council.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar claims Highlands and Islands Enterprise has lost touch with businesses there.

The authority has criticised HIE in its response to a Scottish government review of enterprise agencies.

While critical of the organisation in general, the comhairle praised local HIE staff.

An HIE spokeswoman said: "Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has a historic commitment to the whole of the Outer Hebrides which is as strong today as it ever has been.

"Per head of population, HIE has invested many times more in the Outer Hebrides than in Inverness.

"In the last nine years projects to the value of an average of over £9m per annum have been led and supported by the HIE local team in the Outer Hebrides."

She said the organisation played a "significant role" in the successful campaign to save the rocket range in South Uist, in partnership with the local authority, and was at the centre of the deal to secure the Burntisland Fabrications deal for the yard at Arnish Point.

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