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Islands Strategic Group


In August 2016, a new Islands Strategic Group was established to build on the work of the previous Island Areas Ministerial Working Group and the Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities prospectus. 


South UistThe Group is chaired by the Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf MSP, and its membership includes the Leaders and Chief Executives of Shetland, Orkney, the Western Isles, Argyll & Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire Councils, ensuring a voice for all Scotland’s inhabited island communities round the table.


The remit of the group will be to consider strategic issues affecting the inhabited island communities of Scotland and to ensure greater involvement of the relevant Councils in helping identify and design solutions to the unique needs and challenges these communities face.  The Group will agree a formal programme of work, which will in broad terms focus on the following areas:


  • Assist with the development of provisions for the forthcoming Islands Bill announced as part of the 2016 Programme for Government, and the supporting statutory guidance that will underpin it;

  • Assist with the development and implementation of a National Islands Plan;

  • Consider how the Islands Councils, and Councils with responsibilities for Island Communities, are and can be supported to make the most of existing powers available to them. Helping them to engage and empower their communities so that they can deliver efficient, improved and more responsive public services, leading to better outcomes; and

  • Consider strategic policy issues/challenges to ensure proper solutions, fit for purpose are being considered to allow greater sustainable economic growth and community development within island communities.