Scott wants deal as new Islands Bill debated in parliament

An islands deal and the “crucial investment” it would bring is needed to help push forward Shetland’s economy.

That was the view of isles MSP Tavish Scott, ahead of a debate on a new Islands Bill in parliament.

Scotland’s first piece of islands specific legislation will be discussed on Thursday with Islands Minister Humza Yousaf hailing the “landmark piece of legislation for Scotland” ahead of the debate.

Mr Yousaf said: “It is designed to build islands awareness into decision making across the public sector, ensuring interests of island communities are firmly at the centre of future legislative, policy and service considerations.

“The Bill builds on our work to enhance island communities and economies, such as our investment of over £1 billion in ferry services, £270 million in airport facilities across the highlands and islands – including over £60 million in the air discount scheme – as well as £5 million in the Islands Housing Fund to deliver affordable homes.

“It also complements our wider policy agenda, which addresses island-specific challenges inclu­d­ing depopulation, energy, housing, transport, digital, and supporting sustainable economic development.

“It is greatly encouraging to see the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee support the general principles of this Bill and I look forward to working together to refine it, delivering the best support for our island communities.”

Mr Scott believes for the Bill to help Shetland, a deal would be “the next stage” – similar to city deals elsewhere.

This would mean “crucial investment” in Shetland’s economy, he said.

Last week the Scottish government announced a one-off payment of £5 million would be coming to the SIC to help tackle its inter-island ferry costs as of 2018/19.

Asked if now was a good time to keep the momentum going, Mr Scott replied: “Yes… If nothing else a debate on an Islands Bill in parliament is an opportunity to speed up the pace of necessary investment in aspects of our economy where that investment is desperately needed.

“The two obvious examples… are in superfast broadband for the most outlying areas where our service is still lamentable, and really exploring the capital investment needed for fixed links.

“We can’t go through an annual debate about ferries, we need to move forward.”

Mr Scott said it was important that the government concentrated on the “periphery of the periphery” not just the central belt. He cited broadband as an example where the focus should be turned on areas like Shetland.

The previous council had worked hard on the Our Islands Our Future campaign, he said to make the Islands Bill a priority.

Local decision making needed to be enhanced, said Mr Scott and not reduced.

“Too many local powers have been taken away over the last 10 years and I want to see a reversal of that process and an Islands Bill to be genuinely about the sustainable future of Shetland.”


Add Your Comment
  • John Tulloch

    • February 8th, 2018 9:57

    This is why WIr Shetland supported Tavish Scott in the 2016 Scottish Election. That was a good decision.

    • Kenneth Groat

      • February 8th, 2018 14:58

      Does Wir Shetland still exist ? as I have not heard anything from the group / party for a while. How many members do you have?.

      • Brian Smith

        • February 8th, 2018 16:57

        They merged with the Lib Dems in favour of the status quo.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 9th, 2018 18:03

        History, current affairs, it all goes right over your head brian. Stick to one liners that way if folk are not sure of your meaning they won’t be sure you’re wrong.

      • Brian Smith

        • February 10th, 2018 10:35

        Ali is the Aquinas of Shetland debate.

      • laurence paton

        • February 11th, 2018 0:14

        Brian Smith. If you rate Ali as the Aquinas, how do you rate your own debating contributions?

  • Kenneth Groat

    • February 9th, 2018 11:20

    Thank you Brian that has satisfied my curiosity.

  • Paul Bird

    • February 9th, 2018 13:39

    Wir Shetland is alive and kicking. Like all other local political groups at present we have been watching with interest current local and national affairs. The group will soon be releasing a statement about local taxation affairs which we hope will be of interest to some.
    Paul Bird

    • Peter Matthewson

      • February 9th, 2018 14:38

      I would concentrate on getting enough people to turn up to your AGM. Only 4 people I heard, which meant it couldn’t go ahead!!! Couldn’t even get a majority of your Councillors to appear, let alone your chairman!!!!

      Laughable from Wir UKIP, because of a handful of your disgraceful racist, xenophobic, climate change denying vocal members have probably killed off any chance of Shetland becoming anything like you desire. Thankfully.

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 10th, 2018 14:54

        Support Shetland independence and you’re racists? Support UK independence and you’re racists? Yet if you support Scottish independence you’re not racists? Funny how that works. Maybe Peter would like to back up his libellous claim or retract it

      • Peter Matthewson

        • February 10th, 2018 19:45

        It has nothing to do with supporting UK independence or Shetland independence or Scottish independence that makes people racist, it’s being racist that makes people racist. For the record I’m not a supporter of any of the three. One vocal member of Wir Shetland hates Muslims, and has said so numerous times on his own Facebook page. Nothing libelous about it when it’s all there for the world to see.

        Now, would you like to try and defend the Xenophobes and Climate Change deniers of the group?

      • Ali Inkster

        • February 11th, 2018 21:41

        There is as difference between hating Islam (a racist ideology) and hating muslims.

    • Graham Fleming

      • February 9th, 2018 22:38

      National affairs ? that will be the Shetlaun nation then( wherever that is) representing the 19% of islanders who said they were not SCOTTISH,but I am still trying to find the anes at the last census calling themselves Shetlanders -Westminsters brigadoon brigade who conveniently appear at election times full of bile and brimstone agin oor bonnie an braw wee kintra -Scotland!

      • ian tinkler

        • February 10th, 2018 21:57

        Ali, It is called hypocrisy. Support UK independence and you’re ( racists? ),a patriot.

        Support Shetland independence and you’re (racists?) trying to shed a yolk of exploitation of resources and environment.

        Yet if you support Scottish independence you’re (not racists?) just a Nationalist.

        “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. .” SNP enough said, it is in the name.

      • Michael Garriock

        • February 11th, 2018 0:00

        Grahm Fleming, if you wish to make a point, perhaps using a language your audience comprehends would assist with delivering it.

        Quite frankly, the bits of your piece that are in English (which I was unfortunately forced to learn, up to a point) do the job fine, the rest however I have not the first clue what you said. So, you point, whatever it may have been, has been lost on me, and I suspect quite a few more of the Shetland Times readership.

  • ian tinkler

    • February 10th, 2018 11:28

    Graham Fleming, a perfectly balanced statement from you yet again! It helps with a chip on each shoulder! Socialism ant Nationalism!!! Shetland folk, fortunately, put two fingers up at both. Now get over it.

    • Graham Fleming

      • February 10th, 2018 19:22

      I am neither a socialist or a nationalist ,just Scottish which I have never been ashamed to be. British in the sense I come from the British isles (no longer British as a nationality because of Bratsit and the perpetual illegal wars conducted from Westminster ) and of course European through the European Union which has brought peace and stability to our continent over the last 60 years.Shetland fowk, in speech and culture are mainly Scottish (like the rest of Scotland are too) something you have a problem with Mr Tinkler,no doubt!


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