New Scottish Secretary David Mundell has said he will be ‘fully engaged’ with the Our Islands Our Future campaign led by the three Island Councils - Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.
In response to a statement from the campaign yesterday (Wednesday), David Mundell said:
“The Secretary of State for Scotland will be fully engaged in the Our Island Our Future process and has made clear the UK Government’s position is to deliver the Smith recommendations on further devolution. Civil servants at the Scotland Office and in other UK Government departments provide continuity across changes of government and the Island Councils can be assured these issues will continue to receive all the attention they need. The Secretary of State looks forward to meeting with the Islands Councils in the near future.”
The three Island Councils oare seeking early meetings with the new Secretary of State for Scotland and other key players to discuss Our Islands Our Future (OIOF) .
Although the previous agreements took place with a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government, the three Councils expect commitments to be honoured by the new Conservative Government.
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Angus Campbell, said: “We welcome the appointment of David Mundell as Secretary of State for Scotland, having worked productively with him in the past, and look forward to doing so in the future.
“We did the groundwork previously with the UK Government and although there has been a change in Government we would expect them to continue along similar lines with regard to Our Islands Our Future. It is good to hear the Prime Minister say that the Smith Commission recommendations, arising from the ‘Vow’, will be honoured in full. From the Islands point of view that is important as one of the key recommendations is the transfer of revenues and management of the Crown Estate to the Scottish Government and, as agreed by Scottish Government, onwards to local coastal communities, one of the key aims of the OIOF campaign. Hopefully there may be additional powers for Scotland as argued for by the islands Councils in their submission to the Smith Commission.”
The Island Councils continue to meet with the Scottish Government on a regular basis in taking forward discussions on OIOF and hope to meet with the new Secretary of State for Scotland, as the UK Government’s representative, in the near future.
Mr Campbell said: “Whilst we recognise that some of the faces we will now be meeting at a UK Government level will have changed, many of the key players, including Ministers and senior civil servants, will be the same and they are well acquainted with OIOF and the wishes of Island Councils and communities.”