First Minister Alex Salmond has set out details of a new ‘power-sharing’ programme to empower Scotland’s islands.
The proposals, which are the result of nearly a year’s collaboration between the Islands Council Leaders and the Scottish Government covers Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles and also extend to all of Scotland’s islands.
The islands prospectus shows how, with the powers of independence, Scotland’s islands can be empowered to have greater control over their local economies, natural environment and have a guarantee that their concerns on all issues will be heard at the heart of government.
Depending on Scotland voting ‘yes’ in the independence referendum, an SNP-led Scottish government would allocate 100% of the net income from the islands’ sea bed leasing revenues to island communities rather than to central government.
And the Scottish Government would ensure Islands Councils’ representation on a new strategic energy committee upon independence, and explore ways to mitigate any adverse community impacts from oil and gas activities.
SNP MSP Dave Thompson said: “I welcome the commitment to more powers for Scotland’s islands. Our islands have massive potential in food and drink, renewable energy and tourism – and they must be given the tools they need to tap into that. This announcement will help ensure that following independence Scotland’s islands – along with the whole of the country – can build on success and become wealthier and fairer.”