Thursday, 1 August 2013

Island councils positively engage with independence

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar SNP Group, warmly welcome the Scottish Government’s Lerwick declaration, agreeing in principle to set-up a new ministerial working group to look at further empowerment for island communities.  This decision reinforces our commitment to strengthen islands communities by decentralising powers directly to the localities best placed to deliver on the people’s needs and aspirations.

First Minister Alex Salmond aptly put it when he said, “we believe that the people who live and work in Scotland are the best placed to make decisions about our future – the essence of self-determination, subsitiarity and local decision making.  A ministerial working group is an essential first tool to initiate discussion.

It is vitally important that appropriate powers are identified and discussed, and also that detailed requirement is made to ensure that these powers are transferred to the locality.  Self-determination, we consider should enable local communities to design and deliver the services they need, rather than simply be passive recipients.

We have written to Derek Mackay, Scottish minister for Planning and Local Government to request that the work to be undertaken identifies how self-determination powers and resources will be delivered directly to the various localities, enabling genuine and effective local decision-making to take place.

We look forward to engaging with our communities to discuss and identify the particular powers and services which would be more effectively delivered at a more local level.