Tourism in Scotland has soared this year with massive increases in overall numbers and in spending. The UK has seen an 18% increase in spending by tourists while, in Scotland, it has risen by an impressive 27%. The weak pound has often been given the credit, but I feel sure that the intrinsic experience has been improved, Outlander and other Media phenomena and a sense of safety from terrorism have been big contributors too. See these recent pieces:
‘Scotland enjoys tourism boost thanks to interest in Gaelic’
Tourism spending in Scotland surges ahead of UK figure
Inspired perhaps by the general trend but also, coincidentally, opportune for the alleged increased interest in Gaelic triggered by Outlander, a new marina hub has been completed in Harris. This is the final link in a chain of marine facilities along the coast of the Outer Hebrides. The new Harris facilities will take up to 90 vessels and bring major economic benefits to the area in terms of jobs and spending.
According to the Scottish Business News Network, funding of £220 000 comes from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) toward the total cost of £1.3m project. Toward the end of the report we see:
‘The development is also supported by the Coastal Communities Fund and LEADER, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Fund and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.’
As always, I had to go elsewhere to find out the SNP-led administration’s contribution to the project. It’s £300 000 out of the £4.3 million to be spent by them on regenerating coastal communities. Projects awarded funding include:
- £300,000 for Dumfries and Galloway Council towards 64 miles of coastal paths at Rhins of Galloway
- £237,500 for British Waterways Board towards a visitor information centre and hub at Fort Augustus
- £258,190 for Dundee Heritage Trust to transform Discovery Point facilities
- £300,000 for Harris Development Ltd to develop two pontoons for small boats, cruise ship tenders, yachts and cruisers
- Nearly £200,000 for Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust for a network of 25 whale watching and heritage sites across the west coast
Also, in the scot.gov report, we see this from the project chair of Harris Development Limited said:
‘The recent award of £300,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund has completed the £1.35 million funding package required to create the Harris Marina Hub, a project which is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the area through the development of marine tourism.’
Then I find this in the West Highland Free Press:
‘A successful application to the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has secured £600,000 towards the Isle of Harris Marina Hub, a £1.37 million development of pontoons in East Loch Tarbert.’
Things have clearly changed since the WHFP sacked founding editor, Labour MP and fierce Unionist, Brian Wilson, back in 2015! I know, reader, he’s other things too.
So is that a total of £600 000 or £900 000? Why would the Scottish Business News Network report mention the smaller amount from HIE but not this? Regular readers will know it’s a repeated pattern in several media outlets, of ‘forgetting’ to tell the reader just how big a part Scottish government grants play in a whole range of improvements to Scotland’s housing and infrastructure.
Hi John et al – I see Carwyn Jones has done a ‘reshuffle’ and removed one Minister who is under investigation – (No clear details yet). He’s brought ‘Lord’ Ellis-Thomas into the Welsh Govt as a Depute Minister – so that’s quite interesting (he’ll be covering the Culture brief).
On matters Welsh can I update you on the situation of Scotland’s favourite tory Minister ‘Baron’ Ian Duncan?
If you remember in September beeb Wales noticed that – although it hadn’t been announced on the Downing St. website – ‘Baron’ Duncan was, allegedly, also the Depute Minister for Wales. (See below):
New minister yet to work in Wales since starting job
Meet the new parliamentary under secretary of state for Wales.
Lord (Ian) Duncan of Springbank was apparently appointed to the role in June, but the Wales Office didn’t exactly trumpet their new minister.
Indeed, in Downing Street’s full list of ministerial appointments his name appeared only under his other role as a junior minister in the Scotland Office.
And the Wales Office chose not to correct reports that Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth had not been replaced after his move to the Northern Ireland Office.
The Wales Office has had a minister in the Lords since 2012. Before that, a peer would act as a departmental spokesperson.
The Wales Office insists that Lord Duncan’s appointment was on the main government website in June. As I write, his Twitter biography describes him as “UK Government Minister for Scotland”.
He narrowly lost the Perth and North Perthshire Westminster seat to the SNP in the General Election on June 8. His raising to the peerage two weeks later caused a bit of a row.
A Wales Office spokesperson said: “He will be bringing welcome experience, particularly on issues relating to the European Union given his background in Brussels and the Scottish Parliament.”
I asked when the new Wales Office minister last visited Wales.
“He hasn’t had any official business there,” said the spokesperson.
Then the plot started to thicken – see below ‘Baron’ Duncan’s impressive list of summer visits around Scotland as he was doing his ‘real’ job of trying to sell a tory ‘red,white and blue’ brexit to the various Scottish fishing and farming organisation summer branch meetings (the Scotland Office news release is even listed under ‘brexit’ – so they’re not even trying to be subtle about it) – The ‘Baron’ would, of course, also be trying to sell the Colonel’s various ‘route march’ changes of direction to the faithful as he went on his publicly funded ‘tour’:(see below)
Lord Duncan visits Lewis and Harris
Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and Lord Duncan of Springbank
29 September 2017
The UK Government Minister for Scotland has hosted a series of roundtables, completing a two day tour to discuss the implications of Brexit for Na h-Eileanan Siar
The Minister’s visit to Lewis and Harris concludes a summer of engagement by Lord Duncan across Scotland, including visits to the Shetland Isles, Aberdeen, Inverness, Elgin, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Perth and Paisley.
This gyration across Scotland doing brexit/tory business whilst utterly ignoring his Wales job (whilst accepting a salary part-funded from the Wales Office) was clearly becoming too much to stomach for the tories in Wales – so we now have a ministerial reshuffle (see below from beeb Wales site):
Lord Bourne replaces Lord Duncan in Wales Office
Lord Bourne has returned to the Wales Office in the department for Communities and Local Government.
The Conservative peer replaces Lord Duncan who, the Wales Office confirmed, made no public visits to Wales during his four months in the role.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP said he was “really pleased” Lord Bourne had returned. (I bet he is!)
Lord Bourne previously held the role from May 2015 to June 2017.
This leaves Theresa the Tory and Fluffy with a problem – everyone knows that there isn’t enough ‘official’ work for a full Depute Minister at the Scotland Office (he is, of course, actually doing tons of ‘unofficial’ tory work – but how to justify the salary? Looking at ‘Baron’ Duncan’s latest ‘biography’ on the Lords’ website gives us the answer (see below):
Lord Ian Duncan was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Scotland Office in June 2017. He was also appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 2017.
Ian was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales between June and October 2017.
So there you have it folks – The ‘Baron’s’ salary is now to be part-funded by the good folks of Northern Ireland – I wonder if they are aware of this? – I have to say – given the delicate state of negotiations in N.Ireland currently – with the possibility of ‘Direct Rule’ being openly discussed – I would genuinely have thought that Brokenshire would not want to lose a Depute Minister who has just been spending 4 monts briefing himself on the situation and have him replaced by oor Scottish ‘Baron’ (who will probably not deign to even set foot there – just as he didn’t in Wales).
Fun and games in the wonderful world of the BritNat establishment political pantomime – where the Colonel’s ‘project’ can brook no challenge.
Did you see any of this covered by beeb Jockland? – No – thought not.
Evening all, Ludo
There’s a smell. Thanks again Ludo. Can a pontoon also serve as a gangplank?