Our Islands Our Future conference next week

It is just one week to go until the Our Islands Our Future conference kicks off at the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall

The conference, taking place next Thursday and Friday will bring together leading figures from the political, academic and business sectors to discuss the issues raised by the ‘Our Islands Our Future’ campaign.

The campaign has seen Orkney Islands Council join forces with colleagues in Shetland Islands Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to press the Scottish and UK Governments for more powers following the Independence Referendum in September 2014. Following the launch of the campaign in June, the Scottish Government set up a Ministerial Working Group to look at the issues being raised and the UK Government has also undertaken to meet with representatives from the three local authorities.

Leading the conference is award-winning political journalist Iain Macwhirter. He is joined on the conference programme by an array of speakers including Ian Davidson MP, who is Chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, Derek Mackay MSP, who is Minister for Local Government and Planning and Lord Wallace of Tankerness

There will be presentations on a vast array of issues including marine resources, constitutional arrangements and economic drivers, as well as from the Yes Scotland and Better Together campaigns.

Council Convener Steven Heddle said: “‘Our Islands Our Future’ is our vision for a stronger future for Scotland’s islands following the independence referendum of 2014. We are calling for a commitment that whatever the outcome the needs and status of island areas are clearly recognised in the new era for Scotland.

“This conference is a demonstration of the unified commitment and vision from the three island authorities. It gives us the opportunity to present the unique distinctiveness of each of the three island groups and convey why it is entirely reasonable for the islands to ask for devolved powers and direct management of funding that will enhance local democracy and ensure our communities benefit from the developments that take place in our islands.”

For further information on the Our Islands Our Future campaign, visit www.orkney.gov.uk