The Minister was speaking ahead of a visit to Stornoway to confirm the Government’s on-going commitment to working with the Our Islands Our Future campaign and to take forward commitments detailed in the Islands Framework. In addition to meeting with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar tomorrow, the Secretary of State will attend an upcoming Islands Working Group to meet with each of the islands leaders and those closely involved in the campaign.
The Secretary of State pointed to the Northern Powerhouse and the recent historic devolution deal for Cornwall as examples of the UK Government’s on-going commitment to a major decentralisation in decision making across the UK.
Mr Mundell said:
I’m looking forward to visiting Stornoway to confirm my on-going commitment to the Islands framework.
You can look at the track record of this Government through the Northern Powerhouse, a devolution deal for Cornwall and our on-going work with the Borderlands initiative as examples of our commitment to put power in the hands of communities and making sure opportunity and prosperity reach every part of our country. It also shows how the Western Isles coming together with Orkney and Shetland has created an example for other parts of the UK to follow.
I’m keen for the Islands Councils to play a full part in the on-going debate on how the substantial powers in the Scotland Bill are used to directly benefit island communities. Over the past few years there has been a process of centralisation from the Scottish Government but I hope through opportunities such as the devolution of management over the Crown Estate, this imbalance can be redressed.
In addition the Secretary of State will visit a number of local businesses including Harris Tweed and Hebridean Seaweed to discuss trade and exports and the recent measures introduced as part of the Budget.