I previously wrote on financial assistance given to the Scottish Homes Expo in Inverness from the Inverness Common Good Fund: to allow free access for school-children during its planned run in August. In addition, I wrote to my local councilors in Ward 2.
Impressively, less than a fortnight later, I have received a response from the Chief Executive’s office. First, it disabused me of one misapprehension: namely that SHE is a private commercial enterprise; instead a Social Enterprise Company run by public entities such as the Council or the Highland Housing Alliance or the Forestry Commission Scotland.
Fair enough, I had become preoccupied with the [future] sale of the snazzy eco-homes for £90,000 or so. If as much of the monies from the Council and ICGF possible are to be recouped from these sales, I – and I am sure many of the revolting Inversneckians – would be mollified.
The letter detailed the public funding SHE has received over the past two and a half years:
- £68,300 from the Highland Council;
- £70,000 from Highland and Islands Enterprise;
- £40,000 from SUST/Scottish Exec… oh, okay… Scottish Government;
- £25,000 from Event Scotland;
- £30,000 from Forestry Commission Scotland.
And, now, of course, £60,000 from the ICGF. My correspondent was at pains to point out that this is not derived from council tax; yet it can be seen that considerable amounts have been received from this and other publicly raised funds. SHE recently sought an additional £100,000 from Highland Council, with the earnest instence that “if all goes well” it will be repayed.
As reported in the Inverness Courier, with poor advance ticket sales, SHE now envisions that some 75% of the hoped-for 30,000 visitors will hail from within a one hour drive; suggesting that this figure was originally derived during the heady boom days. Offering free access to attract children, who will be accompanied by paying adults, smacks of an attempt to offset the same financial plight which boring public projects like care homes have to face.
Furthermore, Common Good Funds are derived from assets and properties left over from former burgh statuses of Scottish towns, and are now intended for bettering the lots of the current inhabitants. I have seen nothing to suggest that SHE or Inverness City councilors have considered legal questions of making this offer open to school-children from outwith the ICGF boundaries.
Minutes of the meeting in which Inverness City councilors approved the release of money from the ICGF can be found here (although not confirmed which 15 councilors approved).
In the comments of my original blog-missive, the Gurn from Nurn recounted a full meeting of the Highland Council on 24 June.
The Chairman of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Willie Roe was due to deliver a presentation entitled “Ambitious for the Highlands”. What you say?