Government provides island guide for Independence

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Islanders will receive two guides from the Scottish Government outlining the benefits it says independence will bring nationally and locally.

As well as a new 12-page guide, currently being sent to 2.5 million Scottish households, an additional leaflet setting out how the Scottish Government believes islands communities would benefit from independence will also drop through letter boxes in the Western Isles.

Local Government Minister Derek Mackay said: “The unique nature of Scotland’s island communities has been recognised through our recent prospectus, Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities, which sets out a comprehensive package of powers which recognise their distinctive needs and priorities.

“At the heart of this is a commitment to bring forward a Bill for an Islands Act upon independence, placing a duty on the Scottish Government and other public bodies to ‘island-proof’ their functions and decisions, and to create a post of Minister for Island Communities, giving the islands an even stronger voice at the heart of government.”

He continued: “It is only with independence that the unique needs of islands can be recognised in a written constitution or that we will have the opportunity to ensure all island communities receive the net income from the adjacent inshore seabed.

“Our islands have huge potential in energy, tourism and life sciences, and we are determined to work with them to unleash that potential with the powers of independence, and honour the principles of subsidiarity and local decision-making that are at the heart of the Lerwick Declaration.”

Meanwhile a spokesperson said the Comhairle is in “constructive discussions” with the UK Government about proposals following the ‘Our Islands, Our Future’ campaign which resulted in the Scottish Government’s commitment to more island powers. Details are “expected in the near future,” said the council spokesman.