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by Kate Shannon
02 June 2015
Nicola Sturgeon backs more powers for island communities

Nicola Sturgeon backs more powers for island communities

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland’s islands should have more powers to build a “prosperous and fairer future” for their communities.

She added that further autonomy for the islands is at the heart of a consultation to be published later this summer.

In a visit to Kirkwall, Sturgeon told the Convention of the Highlands and Islands (COHI) responses would help draft a future Islands Bill to provide more power, equality and protection for the islands.

She said: “Our islands are part of the rich and diverse fabric of this country and they make a significant contribution to Scotland.

“We have previously committed to looking at devolving more autonomy to our islands and decentralise decision making to those who live and work in these unique parts of Scotland. We want to work to make our islands stronger and let them flourish.

“We are bringing through the Community Empowerment Bill, which will enable communities to be more involved in local decision-making.”

Sturgeon said the consultation will hopefully allow a full understanding about the best way to “promote the islands, harness their resources and enhance the wellbeing of the islands”.

The First Minister also confirmed there will be a full consultation across Scotland in due course on the long term arrangements for managing Crown Estate assets.

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