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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 Colin Smyth Colin Smyth Labour

I thank the minister for advance sight of the statement.

As the translator is not here, I will stick to English with my questions.

In the islanders’ response to the consultation on the report, they have set out very clearly that there are genuine fears—they include feeling distant from decision makers in Edinburgh, the impact of depopulation, the costs of transport and the lack of capacity on ferries—about the future of some island communities. Although there is little to disagree with in the strategic objectives in the plan that the Government has published, islanders want to see meaningful action being taken to address the challenges that they face, not promises of more consultations, plans and research.

The minister said several times that an implementation plan is being developed, which will include clear and meaningful actions. Given that it has already been more than a year since the 2018 act was passed, when will we see an implementation plan with detailed actions and clear timescales for implementing them?