Legislation to empower Scotland’s island communities is to be progressed, Islands Minister Humza Yousaf has announced.
Shetland, Orkney and Western Isles councils have been calling for greater control over local matters
The local authorities launched the campaign, Our Islands - Our Future, in the lead up to 2014’s Scottish independence referendum.
The proposed Islands Bill will be shaped by the findings from the recent consultation and will be brought forward during the next 12 months – within the first year of the new parliamentary session.
Speaking from the Western Isles where he was meeting local producers and community representatives, Mr Yousaf said:
“Our islands make a significant contribution to Scottish life from both a cultural and economic perspective. As such, I am immensely proud to be able to announce that I am bringing forward an Islands Bill less than a year after my predecessor launched the Government’s consultation on potential provisions.
“We have placed the aspirations and needs of our island communities at the centre of our empowerment agenda. Drawing on the work of both the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group and the consultation findings, the Bill will provide lasting benefits for all our island communities for generations to come.
“I believe that this demonstrates our strong and continued support for our island communities and our desire to deliver quickly on the election promises set out in our manifesto. I now look forward to working with the various island communities and representatives in bringing this into effect over the next year.”