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‘Landmark’ Islands Bill to be debated in Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Government’s Islands Minister Humza Yousaf.

Scotland’s first ever Islands Bill is to be debated in Scottish Parliament today, Thursday, February 8, from 2.30pm

The islands Bill was brought about by the Our Islands, Our Future campaign,

which was jointly run between Orkney Shetland and the Western Isles councils.

The goal of the bill has been to empower the islands’ communities by making sure the needs of the islands are considered when future legislation is being created.

Speaking ahead of today’s debate, Islands Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This is a landmark piece of legislation for Scotland, enshrining the interests of our unique and diverse island communities within the legislative process.

“It is designed to build islands awareness into decision making across the public sector, ensuring interests of island communities are firmly at the centre of future legislative, policy and service considerations.

“The Bill builds on our work to enhance island communities and economies, such as our investment of over £1 billion in ferry services, £270 million in airport facilities across the highlands and islands — including over £60 million in the air discount scheme — as well as £5 million in the Islands Housing Fund to deliver affordable homes.

“It also complements our wider policy agenda, which addresses island-specific challenges including depopulation, energy, housing, transport, digital, and supporting sustainable economic development.

“It is greatly encouraging to see the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee support the general principles of this Bill and I look forward to working together to refine it, delivering the best support for our island communities.”

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