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Advice Centre to be Based in Western Isles

Western Isles Enterprise - 2003-03-27

Western Isles Secures Consumer Direct Advice Centre and 30 Jobs

The Western Isles Project partners for the Consumer Direct bid have expressed their delight at being selected by the DTI as the first pilot project for a Scottish wide consumer advice helpline service.

Consumer Direct will field calls from throughout Scotland, creating up to 30 jobs in a modern business centre at Shawbost, Lewis.

The Convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Mr. Alex MacDonald, said: "I am delighted at this excellent news for Scotland and for the Western Isles in particular. This is a hugely important project as Consumer Direct will provide a first class helpline service for consumers across Scotland. The Western Isles bid, fronted by the Comhairle and HIE/WIE, was a multi-agency model of modern Community Planning and I wish to thank all the project partners who have made this possible. I also want to thank local authorities throughout Scotland for their support and commitment to Consumer Direct and to the Western Isles bid on behalf of Scotland. This announcement is the clearest possible statement of confidence from the DTI in the Western Isles as an ideal location for modern business needs. We are grateful for the unstinting support of Calum MacDonald MP, Alasdair Morrison MSP, the First Minister and COSLA in securing this bid for Scotland. Congratulations are due to the team of officers from all the project partners who have worked so hard to secure this achievement. This is exactly the type of project that the Comhairle and our economic development partners envisaged in our economic regeneration strategy - Creating Communities of the Future. The Western Isles offers first rate facilities, an excellent location and a highly skilled workforce. We are confident that that this will provide a model of business excellence and will act as a springboard for other investments in the Islands' future."

The Consumer Advice Centre should be up and running by the summer of this year.

Donnie Macaulay, Western Isles Enterprise (WIE) chief executive said: "We are delighted that the DTI has chosen the Western Isles for its Consumer Direct Advice Centre. This move is creating valuable new jobs on Lewis and demonstrates a growing confidence in the Western Isles as an ideal place to live and work.

"Rural areas have plenty to gain as the drive for civil service jobs dispersal continues. The DTI's announcement regarding the Consumer Direct Advice Centre is in addition to the jobs created here by the Department of Work and Pensions and Highlands and Islands Enterprise's own jobs dispersal excersise which created over 20 jobs at a data centre in Benbecula."