NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Islands power talks 'constructive'

Lerwick in Shetland Islands
Image caption The ministerial working group met in Lerwick

Talks on devolving more powers to the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have been described as "constructive" by the Scottish government.

Leaders of the three island councils and the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group met in Lerwick.

The subjects for discussion included transport, agriculture, tourism, construction and digital services.

The working group wants to bring forward an Islands Act if Scotland votes for independence.

The Lerwick meeting was the fourth of six for the working group.

Creative industries

It was attended by Local Government Minister Derek Mackay, Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse, Transport Minister Keith Brown and Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing.

Mr Mackay said the government was committed to the principles of "subsidiarity and local decision-making".

He said: "We have already committed to bring forward a bill for an Islands Act upon independence to implement our proposals, and I look forward to continuing our deliberations with the islands councils as we move towards agreement."

The next meeting of the group is scheduled for Stornoway in March, where it is expected to consider creative industries and special status measures for the islands.

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