Benefits for Isles in FM’s vision

Management of the Crown Estate will have benefits for the Western Isles, Na h-Eileanan an Iar MSP, Alasdair Allan commented on Thursday.

Speaking after First Minister outlined the Scottish Government’s vision for the next five years, Dr Allan said Alex Salmond had given a positive speech which set out how the Scottish Government aims to create a fairer and more equal society within Scotland, with the economic powers we need to drive real change in the future of Scotland – not least in the Western Isles.

Dr Allan commented: “One of the economic powers that the First Minister confirmed that he will be pushing to have transferred from London to Scotland – is the running of the Crown Estate. This is something I lobbied for in the last Parliament, and would have particular benefit to the Western Isles, where vast amounts of the seabed are controlled by the Crown, for very little return. Scotland’s communities should be able to share in the vast offshore wealth, which has yet to be exploited.

“The First Minister also set out plans to gradually extend a no compulsory redundancy policy across the whole of the public sector, starting with the NHS. It was also confirmed that we will be seeking to extend the council tax freeze to cover the full five year term of this parliament, to go with the free university education and the scrapping of prescription charges that we have already implemented.”

Dr Allan continued that the First Minister had also announced a Warm Homes Fund, which will many people struggling to heat their homes, and provide fuel poor communities, like the Western Isles, with their own renewable generation that the communities themselves will control.