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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Wendy Clark One of Five That She Knows of on HIE’s Blacklist

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The Highland Times’ recent article about Wendy Clark of Port Services’ case against Highlands and Islands Enterprise confirmed she had lost the action in the Scottish Court.  

The Court of Session stated that HIE had granted the Global Energy Group between €10m and €15m, meaning HIE could not be questioned. 

Wendy Clark argued that Highland Council and the District Valuer granted Global Energy at least another €3.3m in state aid. 

Wendy Clark also argued that other state aids awarded meant the total grants and subsidies awarded to Global Energy was €22m.

In response, Wendy Clark said:

“Only at the last minute was I given a letter from Highland Council confirming it had awarded Global Energy almost £1.4m of rates relief. 

“HIE blocked my legal team tabling this as evidence.

“The District Valuer still refuses to release evidence despite me discovering from Freedom of Information requests that an ex-director of HIE and Global Energy had lobbied hard for rates waivers. 

“These waivers relate to over-the-quayside business rates, which should be charged at Nigg. 

“The Cromarty Firth Port Authority pays these rates in the Invergordon Port, so why are they not being paid in Nigg, a competitor port?

“HIE and Highland Council did not like me asking difficult questions. 

“I have documentary evidence that proves HIE and Highland Council added me to their blacklists. 

“HIE’s blacklist is called the querulous or persistent complainer list.

“Highland Council calls it the unacceptable actions list.  

“HIE has refused to tell me which individual asked to have me added to their list. 

“I have a redacted copy of that request. 

“Highland Council has apologised for describing my efforts to recover court evidence as unacceptable action.”

Wendy Clark claims she knows of 5 other entrepreneurs on the blacklists. 

The Highland Council letter that confirmed the rates relief was dated December 2018. 

This coincided with the Council’s early efforts to make Pupil Support Assistants (PSAs) and Additional Support Needs Teachers (ASNs) redundant to save money and balance its budget. 

Wendy Clark has asked Highland Council to explain why it was trying to make PSAs and ASNs redundant in her local school so that Global Energy could avoid paying those rates at Nigg that the Cromarty Firth Port Authority and local port users pay in Invergordon. 

She has yet to get a response.

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