02-04-2009 : McARTHUR WELCOMES RESULT OF LOBBYING ON RURAL PRIORITIES FUNDING
Orkney MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the news that 69 projects in Orkney have today been awarded Rural Priorities funding. But he has noted that it is only as a result of pressure from Councils, MSPs and others that Scottish Ministers provided enough funding to avoid an historically high percentage of applications being rejected.
Liam McArthur said, "I am pleased that 69 projects in Orkney have been successful and that they have together been awarded £3 405 338. I understand that this means that 85% of the applications from Orkney have won funding.
"The fact that I am able to welcome this news today is, however, the result of intensive lobbying by Councils, MSPs and others. The total funding the Scottish Government initially offered was such that the Regional Proposal Assessment Committees were told to set the points target for success far too high. The level was so high that we would have seen an historic level of applications rejected. But when this news leaked out, along with many others, I put pressure on Ministers to increase the funding. Today's news shows that this concerted pressure has had the desired result.
"The projects which have won support are of vital importance to communities across Orkney. Had Ministers not listened, many much needed projects would have suffered or been lost entirely. Fortunately, thanks to the intensive lobbying of Ministers, this has been avoided.