Islands’ campaign talks in London
Council leaders are in Westminster this week for high-level talks with the UK government on the Our Islands Our Future campaign.
Three days of discussions got underway this morning at a meeting with Scottish secretary and isles MP, Alistair Carmichael.
SIC leaders and their counterparts from Orkney and the Western Isles are seeking a further devolution of powers to the three island areas to enable more decision making at a local level.
Among key areas under discussion this week are energy, better representation in Europe, the powers of the Crown Estate, and “island proofing” – pro-active consideration of the special requirements of island communities during policy development by government.
Later this year, the UK Government and Orkney Islands Council, Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar hope to sign a Concordat incorporating the government’s response to the issues that have been raised in the campaign.
Meetings will also take place with chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, energy minister Ed Davey, advocate general for Scotland Lord Wallace of Tankerness, minister for Europe David Lidington and other senior politicians and government officials.
Speaking on behalf of the three local authorities, Orkney Islands Council Convener Steven Heddle said: “This visit follows two days of highly productive talks at Westminster last October.
“Our Islands Our Future has made considerable progress since then, so this is an excellent opportunity to discuss areas at the heart of the campaign in detail ahead of the publication of the Concordat this summer.”