Education Secretary Michael Russell backs islanders of Bute to join the Mount Stuart Trust

A CAMPAIGN to open up ownership of a Scottish island to members of the local community has been backed by a senior Scottish Government minister.

Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, has said he will support attempts to encourage residents of Bute to join the Mount Stuart Trust, the company that owns and manages most of the island.

The Argyll and Bute MSP said: “I have had a very productive discussion with the trust in recent days and I think their work is very important to the island. It seems to me, however, that there would be great benefit to be had from a wider membership that included those who live on the island or who work closely with the island.

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“I would support local people seeking and gaining membership and my own application is simply designed to draw attention to the issue.

“I hope the trust will think seriously about the matter and I will be writing to them to make that point.”

The trust is controlled by five members of the Marquess of Bute’s family, an accountant and a lawyer and Land Action Scotland wants residents to join the trust to give people a say in how their community is run.

Connie Lovel, chief executive of the Mount Stuart Trust, said all applications will be considered.

She said: “The articles of association of the charity state that the primary aim of the trust is the preservation of Mount Stuart for public benefit – and that obviously includes the residents of Bute.”