A Highlands and Islands MSP has expressed amazement after it was revealed that the Scottish Government failed to make a single award of Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) to businesses in the Western Isles or in Highland region.

No such funding has gone to Argyll and Bute, Shetland or Orkney either over the past three years.

Scottish Conservative MSP Donald Cameron said; “It is frankly amazing that not a single penny seems to have been received by businesses in the Western Isles  from this fund in three years, while millions have gone to other areas in Scotland.

“There is a huge disparity between what businesses have received across the Highlands and Islands and what the Central Belt receives. And this is despite our area being largely made up of areas covered by the highest tier of grant available.

“The Western Isles are crying out for investment in our business sector as well as in our infrastructure and yet, once again, the Scottish Government and its agencies seem to be neglecting us.”

Western Isles councillor, Ranald Fraser (Sgir’ Uige Agus Ceann A Tuath Nan Loch ward), added: “We face a major challenge to further develop the private sector in the Western Isles and it seems very disappointing that over a period of three years not a single business project in the islands has been able to attract RSA funding from the Scottish Government.

“We really should be doing better than this if we are to strengthen our communities and provide a future for our young people. There is no lack of talent or business flair in the Western Isles so we need to understand better the causes of why this has happened.

“The distribution of Regional Selective Assistance should not stop at the Minch.”