Council seeks to bolster Islands Bill
Orkney Islands Council is working with partners in seeking amendments to the Islands Bill for the next stage of its progress through the Scottish Parliament.
As part of the Parliamentary process, a Stage Two debate will take place on Wednesday 21 March, when the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will consider amendments from the Council and others.
OIC Leader James Stockan said: “We have been engaging with Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, our local MSP, the Highlands and Islands List MSPs and members of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.
“I’ve stated in my evidence to the Committee that the Bill could be much more ambitious than currently proposed, and that the Government could go further to make the Bill truly transformational.”
Orkney’s local MSP will have the opportunity to table amendments and take part in the debate. The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, which visited Orkney to take evidence on the Bill last year, will scrutinise amendments and vote on whether to accept them during the debate on 21 March.
The Council is proposing amendments to strengthen the Bill on:
- The further devolution of power by way of secondary legislation.
- The island proofing of policy and legislation.
- Incorporating a review mechanism for island proofing decisions.
Councillor Stockan added: “We feel that more empowerment for the islands is needed in the Bill.
“We are moving into uncertain and changing circumstances with Brexit, and none of us know what the future holds. Being able to adapt to future circumstances will be important for us."
“The amendments should ensure a degree of flexibility, particularly with secondary legislation, to adapt and deliver bespoke local solutions for our communities.”