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Islands Minister visits Arran

Published: 8 Sep 2015 12:30

School pupils give their views on island life.

Islands Minister Derek Mackay has met with young people on Arran to seek their views on island life.

During a visit to the island, Mr Mackay met with senior pupils from Arran High School in Lamlash to hear about the opportunities and challenges of living on Arran.

It is ahead of a three month public consultation on plans for more autonomy for Scotland's Islands which will be launched later this month.

The Scottish Government will be seeking the views of all interested stakeholders to help shape the content of a future Islands Bill.

Mr Mackay also held a public discussion with representatives from the local community and local businesses to discuss the plans.

Islands Minister, Derek Mackay, said:

"It is a real pleasure to be here on Arran and a wonderful opportunity for me to hear the views of young people about what they think about living on the island.

"Engaging with local communities on the upcoming Islands Bill Consultation is essential. The consultation will include looking at the possibilities of providing more power, equality and protection for the Islands to allow them to build a more prosperous and fairer future for their communities.

"We see the consultation as the start of a conversation with the island councils, their communities and wider stakeholders over what a future bill may look like.

"We remain committed to supporting local democracy and empowering our island communities to build a wealthier and fairer future."

Councillor Marie Burns, North Ayrshire Council's Cabinet Member for Economy and Employment, said:

"I was delighted to welcome Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Minister for Transport and Islands, to Arran today ahead of the launch of the public consultation over plans for greater autonomy for our islands.

"During the visit we were able to hear first-hand from pupils at Arran High School about their views on island life. Constructive discussions were also held with local community representatives and businesses about the opportunities and challenges faced by those living in our island. This included a focus on issues such as investment, the cost of services, existing transport infrastructure and housing.

"North Ayrshire and Arran has all the credentials to be a world class coastal tourism and leisure destination and has a number of key maritime and coastal assets including the Scottish Maritime Museum, The Scottish National Sailing Centre and the Scottish National Para-Sports Centre. There are also a number of exciting plans in place to help boost Arran's economic growth and position it as a 'World Class Island' – including the £20m redevelopment of Brodick Harbour which is due to start in October.

"The newly formed Arran Economic Group - which emerged from the Brodick Harbour Redevelopment Group and includes representatives of the Visit Arran, North Ayrshire Council, Highland and Island Enterprises, Scottish Government, Arran Community Council and businesses – will also help to maximise the potential for wider economic growth on Arran. Our aim is to have sustainable, vibrant and prosperous island communities which meet the needs of our existing and future residents."

Notes to editors

Our prospectus for the Islands, Empowering Scotland's Island Communities, was launched by the former First Minister in June 2014; http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2014/06/2708