Economies of the UK Islands — [Andrew Rosindell in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Alan Mak Alan Mak Conservative, Havant 9:30 am, 9th May 2018

I thank my hon. Friend for that sound intervention and again for his role in securing the debate. I entirely agree with his points. As I was saying, a reformed coastal communities fund would be incredibly important to coastal communities such as Hayling Island and his constituency. It would be exclusively available to island communities to apply for to help them to meet the specific and unique challenges they face as a result of their specific and unique geography. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, those challenges include an oversensitivity to changes in local infrastructure, expensive or sometimes congested transport connections to the mainland, a skills gap and a need to support local, independent businesses, all of which could hamper economic growth if not addressed.

In conclusion, we are all islanders. Britain and its satellite islands are a beacon to the world of how innovative, welcoming and economically successful islands can be. After all, the UK is one of the largest and most successful island economies in the world. However, to make our island economies sustainable and resilient, on Hayling Island and beyond, we must help to tackle the systemic and structural challenges they face. I hope that central and local government will play their part. By doing this, we can ensure that islanders across the UK enjoy the bright economic future they deserve, and that they not only are fit for the future, but get to the future first.