I thank the cabinet secretary for that response and join other members in wishing her all the best, as I did in yesterday’s debate on the European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill.
The cabinet secretary will be aware of the disparity in funding per head of population between Scotland’s three island authorities. At present, that represents a shortfall in Orkney’s allocation of around £8 million in comparison with Shetland’s and £15 million in comparison with that of the Western Isles. That has been a long-standing concern of Orkney Islands Council, but little progress has been made over recent years. Does the cabinet secretary agree that that disparity needs to be addressed in the next session of the Scottish Parliament?