Council ends Promote Shetland contract

A SERVICE promoting the Shetland Islands as a place to live and work is to end after the council decided not to renew the contract for running it.

Promote Shetland has been run by the Shetland Amenity Trust for the past eight years under a contract reportedly worth around £394,000 per annum. Three members of staff will be made redundant, the Shetland News reported.

The council recently renewed the budget for the service for another five years but said none of the bids received for running it met "the quality standards required".

Brian Gregson, chairman of the Amenity Trust, said he was "surprised and bitterly disappointed" by the decision. He added that the trust has declined an offer to run the contract for a three-month transition period starting on 1 August.

"Trustees are deeply disappointed by this decision, which will undoubtedly undermine Shetland's efforts to promote our islands as a desirable place to live, invest, work and visit. It will seriously damage tourism and other industries," Gregson said.

"As a trust we bid for the contract and we didn't get it. We have not been given very satisfactory reasons as to why."

Alastair Cooper, chairman of the council's development committee, told the Shetland News that the focus of the new contract was on encouraging people to move to Shetland and attract business investment rather than just tourism.

He acknowledged that the decision not to award a contract would create a "vacuum" but has asked for an urgent report to be prepared ahead of a committee meeting next week to "get some clarity on the way forward".