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National Islands Plan

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

That is the first question that I have responded to from Beatrice Wishart and I welcome her to the chamber.

As I outlined in my response to John Finnie, we will very much engage with both local authorities to see what we can do. The commitment is there to work with both councils but, as the member may know, significant capital costs are required to upgrade ferry services in Shetland and Orkney, and it is too early to say where we will get to. It is not just an issue of recurrent funding; a capital investment is required in both areas. We are sympathetic to both authorities, given the position that they find themselves in with historical pre-devolution arrangements being extended to the current date, and we are trying to work with them constructively. I hope to keep members informed of progress on that.