Scotland’s island communities have suffered an SNP ‘double whammy’ of cuts and centralisation, Kezia Dugdale said.
Speaking on a visit to Stornoway on Friday, the Scottish Labour leader added that the last thing Islanders need is the uncertainty of another divisive independence referendum.
Kezia Dugdale said: “For a Scotland that works for the future we have to redistribute power and wealth.
“Our island and rural communities have already been hit with a double whammy of SNP cuts and centralisation.
“With all of the uncertainty for local economies that will be created by Brexit the last thing island communities need is the uncertainty and division of a second independence referendum.
“That’s why a vote for Labour is a vote for MPs who will fight for jobs and opportunities in their communities, not another divisive independence referendum Scotland doesn’t want.”
Joining the Labour leader during her visit was General Election Labour candidate, Ealasaid MacDonald, who is calling for a special tourism top up fund for the islands, that can be used by the local authority to improve facilities for visitors.
Ealasaid MacDonald said: “The Scottish Government should make the funds available as a recognition of the unique contribution our islands make to tourism nationally.
“There isn’t a tourism brochure or marketing campaign that doesn’t use images of our hills, lochs, golden sands and Barra’s unique landing strip, as well as our music and language to sell Scotland as a quality tourism destination. “Those working in the tourism sector in the islands should benefit directly from government investment.
“This additional money would be used to pay for the vital services our communities provide for visitors.
“In recent years, because of Scottish Government cuts, the Comhairle has had to close facilities. This investment would allow the development of enhanced tourism facilities which will benefit our economy.
“As we seek to address the imminent issue of depopulation it is essential our islands are given additional resources and investment which will allow our young people to flourish and our vulnerable to be protected.”