Councils to meet new government on islands campaign
Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles councils are seeking meetings with the new UK government to discuss the future of the Our Islands Our Future (OIOF) campaign.
The council leaders hope to meet Scottish secretary David Mundell, who replaces Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, and other key players to seek reassurances on the commitments of the previous government on the campaign for more powers for Island areas.
Although the previous agreements took place with the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, the councils expect commitments to be honoured by the new Conservative government. Mr Mundell previously served as a junior minister in the Scotland Office.
Speaking for the three councils, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar leader Angus Campbell said: “We welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, having worked productively with him in the past, and look forward to doing so in the future.
“We did the groundwork previously with the UK government and although there has been a change in government we would expect them to continue along similar lines with regard to Our Islands Our Future.
“It is good to hear the Prime Minister say that the Smith Commission recommendations, arising from the ‘vow’, will be honoured in full. From the islands point of view that is important as one of the key recommendations is the transfer of revenues and management of the Crown Estate to the Scottish government and, as agreed by Scottish government, onwards to local coastal communities, one of the key aims of the OIOF campaign. Hopefully there may be additional powers for Scotland as argued for by the islands councils in their submission to the Smith Commission.”
The island councils continue to meet with the Scottish government on a regular basis to implement OIOF and hope to meet with the new Scottish secretary in the near future.
Mr Campbell added: “Whilst we recognise that some of the faces we will now be meeting at a UK government level will have changed, many of the key players, including ministers and senior civil servants, will be the same and they are well acquainted with OIOF and the wishes of island councils and communities.”
• More in Friday’s Shetland Times.