Empowering our islands. 23th August 2016
Minister Humza Yousaf announced that legislation to empower Scotland’s island communities is to be progressed:
“Our islands make a significant contribution to Scottish life from both a cultural and economic perspective. As such, I am immensely proud to be able to announce that I am bringing forward an Islands Bill less than a year after my predecessor launched the Government’s consultation on potential provisions.
“We have placed the aspirations and needs of our island communities at the centre of our empowerment agenda. Drawing on the work of both the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group and the consultation findings, the Bill will provide lasting benefits for all our island communities for generations to come.
“I believe that this demonstrates our strong and continued support for our island communities and our desire to deliver quickly on the election promises set out in our manifesto. I now look forward to working with the various island communities and representatives in bringing this into effect over the next year.”
The Islands Bill follows a period of consultation and debate on Scotland’s islands futures and it is proposed that the legislation be brought forward and delivered during the next 12 months, within the first year of the new parliamentary session.
The local authorities of Shetland (Shetland Islands Council) , Orkney (Orkney Islands Council) and the Western Isles (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar), along with a number of key island and ‘remote peripheral region’ related organisations, have variously called for greater control over local matters and raised key isses and debate on Scotland’s islands long term social and economic future not least through the campaign, Our islands – Our Future, in the lead up to 2014’s Scottish independence referendum.