I was delighted to visit Ardnahoe Distillery today where I spoke to the distillery's front line workers and management. I got to hear of the progress being made in completing the distillery before the big opening next month.
With Islay's 9th distillery being opened soon, and with more likely to follow, we will need infrastructure and new housing to accommodate our terrific industrial growth.
In order to keep local workers and their families on the island and encourage others to move to Islay, availability of housing must be addressed all the more so when it comes to the island's younger residents. While expanding our social housing stock is important there is also a huge demand to see more shared ownership mortgages with some of our new builds.
This latest example of our Island's fast economic growth once again highlights the vast difference between the huge amount of tax revenue that leaves Islay and the mere crumbs we receive in return in public spending. Despite a large surplus of spending that comes north of the boarder through the Barnett formula, the Scottish Government continues to cut local authority funding, particularly rural constituencies like Argyll and Bute.
It is high time that central governments, no matter what their political stripe, stopped neglecting rural Scotland and our Island communities, all the more so when the Islands of Islay and Jura are such bountiful tax revenue bread baskets. To future proof our Islands economic stability fairness must be restored.
Cllr Alastair Redman