Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has today (Tuesday November 17) confirmed that officers are working up the applications and payment process for the Emergency Support Fund announced yesterday.

Calum Iain Maciver, Director for Communities, confirmed that the aim is to have the “easiest and quickest process in place by the end of this week” in order to allow relevant organisations to avoid red tape in the application process and to ensure the Comhairle can rapidly issue the funds once agreed.

Comhairle Leader, Roddie MacKay, praised the speedy response in preparing the user friendly process and said he was “looking forward to seeing the funds being deployed as soon as possible to help support some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities”

Councillor MacKay also thanked his fellow councillors in Lewis and Harris for their speedy and positive response to the request for supporting funds: “Having met and agreed a way forward with SSE on Thursday I wrote to all members in the Lewis and Harris to see if they would support this by diverting some funds from the Crown Estate income this year; and by Monday they had all responded positively and agreed that this was indeed a deserving cause and an urgent need.

“I would like to acknowledge their commitment and support in these very challenging times.”

Full details will be issued by the end of this week and Comhairle officers are already collating details from the various charitable organisations who have been hit hardest by the loss of income generated from the turbines affected.
Crown Estate Scotland c last week published its annual report and accounts for 2019-20, showing that the organisation delivered an above target £12m to be returned to the public purse.

The annual report and accounts show that Crown Estate Scotland, which manages land, property and seabed across Scotland, continued its strong commercial performance as well as working to deliver wider social, environmental and economic value. 

All revenue profit generated by Crown Estate Scotland is returned to the Scottish Government and capital is reinvested in the Scottish Crown Estate, including improving property and infrastructure to benefit tenants’ businesses and homes. 

Highlights from the 2019-20 annual report include: 

  • £12m revenue profit returned to The Scottish Government for public spending, against a target of £8m
  • Development of Scotland’s first offshore wind leasing round for a decade, ScotWind Leasing, with the potential to aid Scotland’s Net Zero ambitions and deliver £8bn to the Scottish economy
  • Capital investment fund of £39m secured
  • Over £3m invested in improvements to rural infrastructure
  • Development of a three-year coastal framework for the sustainable use of coastal assets
  • 2019-20 survey of coastal tenants found 72% rated Crown Estate Scotland performance at 7/10 or above. This is an increase from 66% the previous year.

Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We have once again returned an above target amount of revenue to the public purse, and have been able to invest in opportunities that will aid Scotland’s green economic recovery in the years to come.

“This is not only about the figures though, impressive though they are. 2019-20 also saw us develop a number of projects to help us to enable our people and organisations to make best use of the natural assets we are charged with managing. We have given new opportunities to tenant farmers, helped to develop understanding of how to grow the Scottish shellfish industry, supported work to tackle marine litter, and much more.”