St Helena Grant Highlights ‘Discrepency’ In Treatment Of Scilly

The recent announcement that the British Overseas Territory of St Helena is to receive £250m for a new airport highlights the ‘vast discrepency’ in the way the Government treats the Isles of Scilly.

That’s according to Marian Bennett, who has been spearheading efforts to get Government subsidies for our Islands’ transport links.

Last week, the UK government announced that it will be spending nearly £247m to build an airport on the remote island in the South Atlantic, situated between Angola and Brazil. The government says it will save money eventually as it currently spends £25m annually to keep the island solvent and the airport will create new revenue and freight savings.

But Marian questions why the government is spending this money on an Overseas Territory with a population of 4,500, when they refused the proposed £60m funding for the Route Partnership scheme for Scilly last year.

She said she can’t understand why the Isles of Scilly are being treated so differently from other islands by the government, although she says there does seem to be a misconception that we’re a tax haven like the Channel Islands or a luxurious holiday destination.

Marian says Scilly appears to be the only small islands in the UK that are treated this way and she says they’ll include the information on St Helena, as well as the data in the so-called Scottish Report, in any future approaches to the government.

Councillors and business leaders in Scilly and Cornwall recently formed the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport, or FRIST, action group, and Marian, who is a member of their advisory group, is encouraging people to sign up as members on their website.

She says the 2,000 residents of the islands, backed up by our neighbours in Cornwall, our visitors and friends and relatives, could present a powerful voice to the Government and she’s looking for ‘10s of thousands’ of people to join the campaign for a subsidised lifeline service to the islands.


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