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Islands Leaders and Secretary of State hail positive Islands Working Group meeting.
Representatives of Scotland’s 3 island councils have taken part in the first Islands Working Group meeting in Edinburgh with the UK Government.
Councillors from Orkney, Shetland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar met with representatives from a wide range of UK Government departments.
The proposal for the Working Group was set out in the UK Government’s Framework for the Islands that was published on 15 August.
Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said:
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet again with the islands councils and begin to turn some of the commitments in the Islands Framework into action by agreeing on the key priorities over the months ahead.
Islands communities face unique challenges and today’s meeting - which was attended by a broad range of UK Government departments - reflects our commitment to working with the islands councils to enable communities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to fully benefit from the abundant natural resources they are blessed with.
Commenting on the meeting, on behalf of the Our Islands Our Future campaign, Cllr Steven Heddle said:
We were delighted to be able to meet the Secretary of State for Scotland and representatives from a wide spectrum of UK Government departments.
It provided us with an important opportunity to take forward some of our priority areas, such as ensuring islands’ interests are reflected in UK Government policy making, island grid connections, fuel poverty, EU representation and the seabed owned by The Crown Estate. Those are some of the key points we covered in our recent submission to the Smith Commission. We also agreed to hold an Islands Summit with the Secretary of State in March 2015 and discussed the islands’ contribution, through the Scotland Office, to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
We made the point to the Secretary of State that there is an appetite in the islands for tangible delivery from the campaign. We feel that, through the actions identified from this meeting, we have identified the routes for delivering some of the key campaign priority areas.