Labour will devolve more power to Scotland’s island communities, Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret Curran MP, said this week after a meeting with island council leaders.
Speaking following the meeting in the UK Parliament with the Leaders of Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Councils, Margaret Curran MP said:
“The leaders of our island councils have made a strong case for why their communities should have more control over the decisions that affect their lives. Devolution was never intended to concentrate power in Edinburgh – we need more power passed to communities across Scotland.
“Labour would put more power in the hands of Scotland’s island communities. This will include power to develop renewable energy resources, to tackle unemployment, to take more control of economic development and to give the maximum possible power over the Crown Estates.”
Margaret Curran MP also announced that a future Labour UK Government would maintain the Islands Desk in the Scotland Office and would also hold twice yearly summits with the Island Council leaders. She said:
“The islands may be remote, but they shouldn’t be remote from the business of the UK Government. Labour would maintain the Islands Desk in the Scotland Office and we would also hold formal meetings twice a year with the leaders of the three island councils.”
Orkney Islands Council Leader Steven Heddle said: “We’re delighted that our campaign has received such a positive response from the Shadow Scottish Secretary. We had a very good meeting with Margaret Curran and Ian Davidson today, following on from a lengthy presentation of our case to the Scottish Affairs Committee.
“We are very appreciative of the cross party support from both the Coalition and Labour at UK level, and the SNP and Labour in Scotland.
“We hope that our representations will translate into manifesto commitments from Labour, and specific measures in the Concordat we are developing with the Scotland Office, and in the Prospectus we are developing through the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group with the Scottish Government.
“The breadth of support we have received and the large ministerial and officer commitment made by both governments in working with us offers us confidence that the approach we have taken in our campaign is appropriate and will genuinely enhance the futures of our islands.”