Councillors held discussions today (Monday 4 February) with Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell MSP over the potential impact on Orkney of the Brexit process.
Mr Russell, who is leading the Scottish Government’s Brexit preparations, accepted an invitation from Orkney Islands Council Leader James Stockan to visit the county and meet with Elected Members and senior officials.
Councillor Stockan said: “Whatever the outcome, Brexit is likely to have considerable consequences for Orkney, our community and the Council itself and it was important we discuss this with Mr Russell.
“We considered the potential effects on sectors of key importance to the local economy, including farming, fisheries and tourism.
“Funding from Europe has been of huge importance to Orkney over the past 40 years. We welcome commitments from the Scottish and UK Governments to honour current EU funding programmes until 2020 and stressed the need for support mechanisms to continue beyond that date.
“Much uncertainty still surrounds the Brexit process and we will continue to engage with the Scottish Government and the local government umbrella organisation COSLA as we take steps to prepare for the challenges ahead.”
Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell said:
“Many of the key industries across Scotland, including fishing, farming and tourism, will be severely impacted by Brexit and my meeting with Councillor James Stockan and other Elected Members today was an important opportunity to discuss the impact in a specific islands context.
“We know Brexit is going to have huge ramifications for Scotland and the rest of the UK, especially as we are seemingly moving towards a catastrophic no deal scenario, with less than two months to go until we leave the European Union. As a responsible Government, we are committed to taking whatever steps may be necessary to protect our vital interests and key industries.”
Advice and guidance to help individual citizens and businesses prepare for the process of leaving the EU is available here.