Sturgeon launches ‘manifesto for the islands’

A 10-point manifesto which puts “investment and empowerment” at the heart of island communities has been launched by the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the plans as she campaigned with isles candidate Danus Skene and islands minister Derek Mackay.


Nicola Sturgeon speaks to the crowd in the Shetland Museum during her visit before the referendum. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Nicola Sturgeon is launching an Islands Manifesto during her visit to the isles. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Ms Sturgeon said that new powers coming to the Scottish parliament meant that May’s election was the most important since devolution.


She highlighted the Crown Estate and winter fuel payments as two new powers which an SNP government would put directly to work for the benefit of island communities.

It comes as the SNP has faced criticism over its record in the isles from the Wir Shetland campaign group, as well as Lib Dem candidate Tavish Scott.

The publication of today’s island manifesto kicks off two days of campaigning by Ms Sturgeon in the Northern Isles, with the SNP leader visiting Orkney tomorrow.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Investment and empowerment are at the heart of the SNP’s manifesto for the islands – a firm commitment to support the local economies while also giving islanders a greater say over their public services and their resources.

“Our island communities benefit from our record investment in the NHS and support for education.

“And we have protected discounts for island air travel, frozen ferry fares for the Northern Isles and are working with island communities on how to improve and protect ferry services.

“Having engaged extensively with stakeholders over the last couple of years, we’ll work with them to produce a national islands plan in the new session, and also bring forward an Islands Bill to reflect the unique opportunities and challenges of the island communities.

“And we’re determined that the new powers coming to the Scottish parliament are put to work for the Northern Isles.

“Not only will our island communities benefit from 100 per cent of the Crown Estate revenues that they raise, but they will have a greater say in how the assets of the Crown Estate are managed.

“And we’ll ensure that the winter fuel payments, also being devolved to Holyrood, will be paid early to people who are ‘off-grid’ – making a huge difference to older people in remote areas.”

Ms Sturgeon said that, with the new powers coming to the parliament, this would be “the most important election since devolution”.


We’re determined that the new powers coming to the Scottish parliament are put to work for the Northern Isles. NICOLA STURGEON

“By giving both votes to the SNP, people across all of Scotland’s islands can elect a government which will use every power at its disposal for our island communities.”

The 10 key pledges in the SNP’s manifesto for the islands:

• The Scottish government says it will invest record amounts in the NHS, supporting health care across island groups with more healthcare in the community.
• It has also pledged to double free childcare on the islands and take action to improve attainment in schools.
• Key among the plans are an Islands Bill so Scotland’s island communities have a stronger voice and continue the islands working group.
• The SNP says island businesses will benefit from a small business bonus and receive 100 per cent broadband coverage by the end of the parliament.
• It promises to develop a national islands plan to ensure island-groups fulfil their economic potential.
• It says it will invest £5m in supporting island and rural produce.
• The Scottish government also says it will support the energy industry on the islands and will push the UK government to deliver the connections that are needed.
• It says it will pay winter fuel allowance early to people who are “off-grid”.
• It is also pledging to support residents who need to travel by continuing to provide concessionary travel for our older people and maintain the Air Discount scheme at 50 per cent, investing in quality ferry service provision and continuing to keep fares fair across all islands.
• Island communities will receive the full revenues from Crown Estate assets around their shores and have a greater say in how the assets of the Crown Estate are managed.


Add Your Comment
  • iantinkler

    • April 4th, 2016 15:34

    So here we have the usual SNP election bribes, what a load of piffle. Eight years on and funding to Shetland at nearly every level cut. Scotland has it greatest budget deficit ever and Sweet child cuddling Nippy promises Shetland the earth.. Thats only as long as you vote Dannus and SNP, otherwise the big stick comes out and a day of reckoning, o Glory Me, heard it all now.

    • Derick Tulloch

      • April 5th, 2016 13:01

      Scotland has no budget deficit, because the Scottish Parliament has no borrowing powers, as yet.

      We are supposed to imagine that Scotland, unlike Denmark (same population, no oil), Finland (same population no oil, no fisheries), Norway (same population, much more difficult geography) is somehow the only nation in western Europe that is financially unviable?

      Aye right.

      • iantinkler

        • April 5th, 2016 20:11

        “Scotland has no budget deficit, because the Scottish Parliament has no borrowing powers, as yet.” Derick Tulloch, I will have to try that reasoning on my Bank Manager next time I go overdrawn. lol

  • John Irvine

    • April 5th, 2016 18:28


    Those country`s you mention do have 1 big difference from Scotland.

    They don`t have the SNP in charge.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 5th, 2016 19:46

      As far as I recall, it was 50% of the Scottish electorate that decided to “have the SNP in charge” John, I believe it’s what we call a ‘democracy?’

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 5th, 2016 21:42

        Quit the spin Robin, 53.49% of those who bothered to vote vote SNP not 50% of the Scottish electorate. It was something like 37% of the Scottish electorate.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 6th, 2016 11:18

        I’m afraid that it is yourself that’s putting in the ‘spin’ Gordon?… People who ‘don’t’ vote cannot be included.
        It’s rather like you asking everyone you know to ‘vote’ on whether or not to order a pizza or a curry carry-out? but only 4 people respond, 50% of them choose pizza [2 people] but then you say: ‘Ah! but because we asked the question to 100 people these 2 people are out-voted, therefore we’re having curry. …Fair?….No, but nice try 😉

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 6th, 2016 13:20

        Sorry, 27% of the Scottish electorate.

      • Gordon Harmer

        • April 6th, 2016 17:10

        Robin you said 50% of the Scottish electorate, there are over 4 million Scottish voters and that Mr Stevenson king of spin is the Scottish electorate, Just over 900,000 people voted for the SNP around 27%.

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 8th, 2016 12:59

        You could also say that the government is failing completely to engage with the 46.5% of the people who choose not to vote. And as the snp are the party in government they must surely carry the can for the failures not just the supposed successes.

  • iantinkler

    • April 5th, 2016 20:16

    As far as I recall, it was 55% of the Scottish electorate that decided to “ vote Scotland as in the UK”, and a far higher percentage rejected the SNP in Shetland, Robin Stevenson. I believe it’s what we call a ‘democracy?’ Now get over it man

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 6th, 2016 10:47

      Indeed Ian, that’s not in dispute? But if you care to read what’s being discussed [above] ie: smaller independent countries roughly with the same population as Scotland [some with oil some without] all doing rather well?

      My point was nothing to do with the referendum, I was referring to our Scottish government, ‘chosen’ by the Scottish electorate…. Do try to keep up …’man’ 🙂

      • Steven Jarmson

        • April 8th, 2016 10:32

        Your point is flawed Robin.
        Democracy is majority rule, not 50% bullying the other 50%.
        I would say 55% is a good starting point to truly claim your position as “people’s choice.”
        But that trivial point aside, you said earlier if it was in the Smith Commission and West Monster had handed over the powers then the Glasgow and Central Belt government would follow up the powers as recomended by Smith, or words to this effect, I apologise in advance of you think I’m putting words in your mouth, I’m not, I’m just paraphrasing for convenience, however, back to point.
        If it’s in Smith and the SNP have the power it’s being done.
        Why then is the Crown Estate not being handed over to the islands? I’m full, not just the money and “more say,” the whole deal for places like Shetland to fully control?

  • John Irvine

    • April 5th, 2016 23:34

    Yes Robin, but that figure doesn`t look good for the intelligence of the voters in Scotland.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 6th, 2016 10:58

      Well done John, you’ve just insulted the ‘intelligence’ of half of Scotland……Oh! unless you were talking about those that ‘Didn’t’ vote SNP?…In which case, you’ve just managed to insult the intelligence of…er…the other half of Scotland?

      • Ian Tinkler

        • April 6th, 2016 16:34

        A Freudian slip, perhaps? he was referring to you Robin, 50% of those whom voted, is not 50% of the electorate. Simples, well to anyone with half a brain, that is 50% of a

  • Gary Robinson

    • April 7th, 2016 13:49

    The statement about the Crown Estate assets around the islands is still woefully weak:

    “Not only will our island communities benefit from 100 per cent of the Crown Estate revenues that they raise, but they will have a greater say in how the assets of the Crown Estate are managed.”

    Compared to Lord Smith’s very clear recommendation:

    “33. Following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets will be further devolved to local authority areas such as Orkney, Shetland, Na h-Eilean Siar or other areas who seek such responsibilities.”

    Taking the FM’s ‘Manifesto for the Islands’ at face value, it appears to fall well short of the “full and faithful” implementation of Smith demanded of the Westminster Government not so long ago.

    • Ali Inkster

      • April 7th, 2016 15:08

      OIOF has achieved its main aim and that is to stifle dissent from OIC and SIC. Thankfully there are some with enough foresight to have seen this coming. The snp were quick to cry foul when the Smith commission was not followed to the letter regarding the transfer of powers from westminster to holyrood. I wonder how Wrobin and Wrobert will spin this hypocrisy.

      • Robin Stevenson

        • April 7th, 2016 17:31

        What hypocrisy?…Which part of “100 per cent of the Crown Estate revenues”, are you, Gordon and Gary missing?

    • Gordon Harmer

      • April 7th, 2016 15:15

      Did you honestly expect anything else Gary.

    • Robin Stevenson

      • April 7th, 2016 15:51

      IF, what was recommended by the the Smith commission has been delivered by Westminster? Then I’m really not too sure if Nicola and the Scottish government can offer more than 100% Gary?

      • Gary Robinson

        • April 7th, 2016 17:45

        It isn’t the ‘100% of the income’ point that I’m questioning Robin. Indeed this appears to be an advance on the 100% of the ‘net’ income that was previously pledged. The issue is around the management of those assets being further devolved as per Lord Smith’s recommendation.

        Although 100% of the multi-million pound income of the Crown Estate in the islands is 100% more than what was on offer before the OIOF campaign started.

        Why not just say Smith will be implemented in full?

      • Ali Inkster

        • April 7th, 2016 20:38

        This will be the 100% after scoti government expenses and we may get asked wir opinion instead of having full control devolved. Nowhere near what has been devolved from westminster and nowhere near what was in the Smith commission and nowhere near what was promised in OIOF. But par for the course from the lying sleekit beastie we know as the snp.

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