Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has expressed huge disappointment at the UK’ Government’s rejection of a £68m Western Isles bid under Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund (LUF). The applications were for Transport and Culture/Heritage projects.
The Comhairle made two bids under the Levelling Up Scheme: ‘Eilean Siar Cultural Heritage and Regeneration Project’ and “Eilean Siar Spinal Route and Connecting Infrastructure’ for £18m and up to £50m funding respectively. These bids have not been successful under Round 2 of the LUF.
Comhairle Leader Paul Steele said:
“The Comhairle and the people of the Western Isles have been let down by this decision. Our Islands are one of the most peripheral and economically challenged parts of the UK; exactly the type of area that should be benefitting from this funding scheme. This will be hugely disappointing for businesses and community organisations across the Outer Hebrides who worked closely with the Comhairle in developing the LUF bid. This decision raises significant questions about UK Government’s approach to post-EU structural funds, and I will be writing to the Secretary of State to make that point and to seek engagement around the Government’s approach to island and peripheral communities. Although hugely disappointed by the outcome, the Comhairle will engage with the UK Government to see how a subsequent bid to Round 3 can best be developed.”
Levelling Up Funding is designed to be transformational, creating jobs and stimulating economies in economically neglected parts of the UK.