Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)

At last week’s meeting of the Sustainable Development Committee, it was agreed to transfer £141k of the funds earmarked for the Global Guarantee to the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF).

The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) was established within the Economic Development service in 2006-07 utilising loan repayments ‘recycled’ from cumulative EU grants received via Comhairle applications to several structural funding Programmes. The RLF is administered by the Comhairle’s Business Gateway team with the total value of the fund currently standing at in excess of £1.2m.

The RLF currently provides loans and micro-loans to local businesses - and encompasses the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Investment Scheme (OHFIS), which enables the Comhairle to provide support to the fisheries sector

Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Sustainable Development Committee, said: "The RLF has been very successful in supporting the local fishing fleet to increase and invest in larger, newer and more modern fishing vessels. During the first half of this financial year a total of 14 OHFIS applications are being progressed. Eleven of the applicants are under 40 years old, some of whom will also be employing young local crew-members.

As well as supporting the sustainability of the fishing industry, the RLF is supporting young people to live and work in the most fragile areas of the islands – helping to stem the out migration of young people to the mainland and the resulting demographic imbalance."