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MP asks regulator to intervene over ATM

Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil is asking the Payment System Regulator (PSR) to intervene over the ATM in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris following complaints about distruptions to the cashpoint.

Mr  MacNeil has been in contact with Cardtronics, the company with responsibility for the ATM on numerous occasions to report problems with the facility.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘Once again, the ATM in Tarbert is out of action and Cardtronics continues to ignore the pleas from the community.

‘There has been no response from Lloyds Banking Group to my communication. Despite assurances that they wanted the Isle of Harris to receive an improved and more consistent service, it appears to have washed its hands of this ATM. A wall of silence continues from Cardtronics.

‘Therefore, I am contacting the PSR to ask it to investigate.’

MP and MSP welcome grant

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan have welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Land Fund that Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath has been awarded £100,586 to purchase the Old Carinish School and adjoining school house.

Funding has been provided for Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath to relocate its important collections from Benbecula, to make these accessible and to become an active community hub for the Gaelic language, for learning, family history and the welcoming of visitors.

Call for smart meters

Scotland’s island communities cannot be ‘at the back of the queue’ as smart meters are rolled out, Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has said.

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters, displaying how much energy is being used and at what cost – ensuring consumers get an accurate bill instead of an estimate.

One of Mr Allan’s constituents was initially denied a smart meter because there were no trained engineers in the area. The constituent was told he would have to wait until 2020 before he could get one. The company eventually agreed to send an engineer on a ferry from the mainland to install a meter for this single customer.

Dr Allan said: ‘Smart meters are an important tool in managing our home energy use, and will be particularly useful to those facing fuel poverty.

‘Energy companies should be prioritising rural communities. Scotland’s islands can’t be left at the back of the queue.’

Increase in registered births in Uist

Research conducted by members of the community suggest the registered births in Uist for 2015, 2016 and 2017 show a 67 per cent increase compared to a decade ago.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP Angus Brendan MacNeil said: ‘This really is a very positive piece of research. It is also good to see that more families with young children are choosing to settle in Uist.

‘With wide open spaces, stunning beaches, machair land and much more, Uist is a fantastic place to live and bring up children.’

Council to submit bid for tourism cash

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar intends to submit an Outer Hebrides-wide application for the Scottish Government’s £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.  The timescale for the initial expression of interest is April 27, with full applications to be submitted by July 27.