Island Bill passes in Scottish Parliament

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Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the passage of the Islands (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was unanimously passed by MSPs in a Stage 3 debate in the Scottish Parliament this week.

The Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament last summer and the key provisions of the Bill enjoyed widespread public support.

Commenting, Alasdair Allan said: “This historic legislation seeks to meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future, helping to create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowering communities.

“The measures included in the bill, along with the Scottish Government’s existing work in areas like transport, digital, housing and health, will contribute to the right conditions for island communities to grow and thrive.

“The legislation also seeks to “island proof” future policies to make sure that policies are workable in the islands, and to create an islands plan where the government has to set out its priorities for island communities.

“This is the first ever legislation for Scotland’s islands and fulfils a key manifesto pledge the SNP stood on in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016.

“I was very happy to see this piece of legislation pass.”

Also welcoming the news of the Bill’s progress was Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.

Comhairle Convener, Councillor Norman A. MacDonald, said: “This was an historic and significant milestone for Scotland’s islands and represents an excellent outcome for the Our Islands Our Future campaign run by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Councils.

“The Bill itself is an opportunity to embed the principles that “one size does not fit all”, and a recognition of the principle that equity and fairness may, on occasion, only be achieved by the adaptation of legislation, policy, strategy or services.

“We warmly welcome and strongly believe that the commitments given by the Minister for Transport and Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, and his predecessor, Derek Mackay MSP, which are reflected in Government’s Stage 3 amendments, together with opposition amendments on key points, strengthen this Bill.”