Labour party branch seeks details over autonomy group

The Shetland Labour Party has called for more detail from the multi-party campaign group Wir Shetland before considering giving its support.

In a letter to this newspaper, secretary Gordon Thomson said the party was happy to hear what Wir Shetland had to offer “but would need more detail from them in their manifesto”.

Earlier this month Wir Shetland chairman John Tulloch set out his vision at the group’s launch at the town hall – arguing Shetland would be at least £172 million a year better off if it gained British overseas territory or similar status.

Mr Tulloch claimed self-governing powers for Shetland, similar to British overseas territories would mean control of taxation, spending and staking claim to a 200-mile exclusive economic zone, that would mean control of fishing, oil and gas.

Wir Shetland argues under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) if Shetland is no longer part of the UK it will have full claim to it’s territorial waters out to 200 nautical miles or the median line i.e. half way to the neighbours, or Faroe, Norway, and the rest of the UK.

Extra cash included tax gains from companies and offshore oil and gas workers as well as a tens of millions from expanded fishing grounds.

In his letter Mr Thomson asked: “How are local services such as health, education, ferries, housing, social care, policing, fire and ambulance, to be provided for?”

At present those services were provided as part of UK or Scottish governance, he said.
He also asked what sort of tax and pension schemes would operate.

• For full story, see this week’s Shetland Times.


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