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Protection for Island Councillors

Published: 4 Oct 2015 00:01

Islands Bill consultation seeking views.

The Scottish Government is asking for views on whether Scottish Islands who are part of mainland local authorities should be able to have their own dedicated councillor to ensure their views are represented.

Currently some islands are represented by councillors who also represent people who live on the mainland. The Island Bill consultation launched earlier this week is asking whether there should be greater flexibility to help ensure that islands are represented by someone who lives locally.

Recommendations on council wards are currently made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland and the Scottish Government are seeking views on whether they should have greater flexibility to recommend that populated islands have a local councillor specifically representing them. This will likely have the most impact on island communities that are part of mainland local authorities - the Highlands, Argyll and Bute and North Ayrshire.

The consultation launched by the Island Minister Derek Mackay could see additional powers, stronger representation at Holyrood and the creation of a National Islands Plan. It also asks for views on whether there should be protection for the Western Isles Scottish Parliamentary constituency boundary that ensures permanent island-specific representation for the Western Isles at Holyrood.

Mr Mackay said:

"This is the next stage of a conversation with our island communities, councils and wider stakeholders about what a future bill may look like – and who better to inform these decisions than the very people who live, work and study there.

"Life on our islands can be very different to living on the mainland and I am keen to ensure that people who live there have their views properly represented at a local and national level.

"I see this consultation as the next step in helping inform the Government's work for a more prosperous and fairer future for our island communities. This consultation is an ideal opportunity for ideas to be shared before any decisions are made on what future legislation might look like and I would encourage everyone to get involved."