Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today called for the Islands Bill to signal a commitment from the Scottish Government to “undo the damage” of centralisation and a one-size-fits-all approach.
Mr McArthur was speaking after joining the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee today to take evidence from Scottish Government officials responsible for the Islands (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill, published last year, is expected to take forward a number of measures including a requirement to ‘island proof’ future legislation and policies and the creation of a “National Islands Plan”.
Following the evidence session, Mr McArthur said:
“Too often in the recent past we have seen decision-making powers removed from our island communities by the current government and a one-size-fits-all approach to legislation and policy-making. If the Islands Bill does indeed help bring this to an end, it will be welcome, if overdue.
“However, if expectations of those who live and work in our island communities are to be met, the commitment from the Scottish Government to ‘island proofing’ must go further. Officials confirmed today that the Bill itself will only look at future legislation and policy but islanders will expect to see evidence of a willingness by SNP Ministers to undo the damage that has already been done.”