Scottish government ministers will be quizzed on their vision for the country’s constitutional future when they hold a cabinet meeting in the isles for the first time this month.
Senior Nationalist MSPs are conducting a summer tour of the country to discover more about what matters to people in communities.
Ministers will host a public discussion session, focusing on the government’s vision for Scotland, at Mareel on 25th July.
They will answer questions from audience members about Scotland and its future.
Speaking to The Shetland Times ahead of the cabinet visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “I am delighted to be bringing the cabinet to Shetland for the first time.
“On my last visit I had a chance to meet students, staff and trustees at the fisheries college marine centre at Scalloway, and to visit the old library centre in Lerwick, as well as chairing the Convention of the Highlands and Islands.
“Our visit to Shetland this month marks the start of our fifth annual summer cabinet programme, bringing ministers to communities across the country – with other events planned for Hawick, Campbeltown and Fraserburgh.
“As in previous years, we want to engage with the public directly in their own communities and give the public opportunities to ‘buttonhole’ ministers on the issues that matter most to them.
“We want to talk about, and hear the public’s views on how the Scottish government, our agencies and public sector partners, are working to meet their needs, how our policies are improving education, healthcare and other services, strengthening communities, supporting regeneration and supporting key sectors of the economy such as fishing, farming, energy and tourism.
“And, of course, we want to discuss our future vision for Scotland, including people’s views on the constitutional debate and next year’s referendum.
“For more than a decade, the task facing MSPs has been deciding how to allocate resources given to us by Westminster. But now, we have a real chance in deciding Scotland’s future and making sure that all decisions on our future are taken by those who care most about Scotland – those who choose to live and work in Scotland.
“This is an exciting time and as a government we want to join communities across Scotland in a positive debate on the future of our country. We want to outline to you why we believe it’s important for Scotland to have the same economic and financial powers as other nations.
“As we look forward to the year ahead sustainable economic recovery, investment with jobs for our young people will remain our absolute priority. We want to hear what the people of Shetland have to say about what and how we invest in the future. I would encourage readers of The Shetland Times to join with us as we discuss that future.”
The public discussion event is being held from 12.30pm to 2.15pm.
Attendance is free but spaces are limited, so those who wish to attend are asked to register by calling 0131 244 2262 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.