Islands debate in Holyrood - action rather than more words

After 8 years of an SNP Government Shetland needs positive action rather than endless rhetoric says Shetland MSP Tavish Scott. He and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur will speak in today's Parliamentary debate. They will urge fellow MSP's to back their amendment calling for an end to nationalist centralisation and a return of powers and local decision making to Lerwick and Kirkwall rather than Edinburgh.

The debate comes after yesterday's health survey results published by Tavish Scott. 900 people and families want better health care and Tavish Scott will highlight the Scottish Government's underfunding of local health services today. He will also ask Parliament to support the transfer for the seabed to Shetland as recommended by the cross-party Smith Ccommission This would give real economic powers to Shetland to support the marine industries on which the island economy depends.

Speaking before the debate Tavish Scott said,

"I have long argued for more powers for the islands. Sadly the SNP have done the opposite. In 8 years of nationalist government they have removed responsibilities from Shetland. A u turn would therefore be good news. I expect the Scottish Government to set out what powers and responsibilities they will return to the islands today in Parliament.

"The schools attainment fund should be available in Shetland. Our health service should receive its full allocation - that would be £900,000 more. The Crown Estate powers over the sea bed should be transferred in their entiretly. The ADS scheme helping air travel costs should be enlarged. None of these measures need a new law. They just need ministerial action. Action such as helping Shetland crofters with the higher costs they have faced this year. Sadly that plea from our local NFUS has fallen on deaf ministerial ears.

"Islanders look for more than warm words from SNP Ministers after 8 years. We want to see concrete action. Today provides an opportunity for exactly that. Shetland will judge the SNP Government on what they do, not what they say."

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