Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan was the opening speaker at the Western Isles Community Economic Development Conference in Stornoway today (Wednesday).
The conference sees the public and voluntary sectors from throughout the islands came together to discuss the best way forward to ensure strong and prosperous communities in the islands in future.
Alasdair Allan commented: “Today is a chance for the Government, the Comhairle and many diverse community groups to think about what we want for the islands over the next five years and beyond. Clearly the most important aim of all is to ensure that we maintain a viable population and that means jobs.
“I indicated my view today; one that I am sure is shared by others, that public services and economic development will need to change in the islands and that this will mean more decisions being taken by communities themselves.
“The Government is proposing to strengthen the say which communities have in this area through a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill, where again the focus is on decisions being made locally.
“I welcome the decision by the Comhairle to host today’s conference, which is an important opportunity to discuss these issues as well as to promote more specific causes such as the development of renewable energy, improvements to the broadband network, the simplification of land reform legislation and, topically, the price of fuel.”
Presentations at the conference will also come from Highlands & Islands Enterprise; Community Land Scotland; Cothrom; Community Energy Scotland; the Third Sector Interface and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.