In my last column, I mentioned the reaction across Scotland to the UK Supreme Court ruling that Scotland can’t have an independence referendum without permission from Westminster. It seems that the actions of independence supporters, turning out at rallies all over Scotland, including Orkney, have now translated into a surge in support for Scotland to become a normal independent country.
A new IPSOS Mori poll has shown that support for independence now sits at 56% – a six-point rise since the last IPSOS poll on the referendum question. This shows a clear majority of people back Scottish independence and the momentum behind Yes is growing. As the chaos of Tory Westminster control wreaks untold damage on Scotland, it’s no surprise that more and more folk across the country are seeing independence as the way forward, with a majority for Yes in every region in Scotland, including the Highlands and Islands.
It is clear that the only way to protect Scotland is through independence – it is the only way that we can get rid of Tory governments – which we didn’t vote for – for good.
And, while the independence campaign continues to ramp up, the Scottish Government continues to work hard to support the most vulnerable against the growing cost-of-living crisis.
The latest support scheme is directed specifically at islands, with islanders most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis able to access additional help. The Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund demonstrates a clear commitment by the Scottish Government to support islanders and recognises what folk in Orkney know all too well – that the cost of living on islands is higher when compared to the Scottish mainland, with higher fuel costs, a colder climate and the lack of consumer choice intensifying the impact of the cost crisis on islanders.
Every day, I hear another story of folk in the islands struggling with soaring energy costs as the days get colder. This extra funding will be a huge relief for those people and will alleviate the immense pressures so many are facing this winter. Knowing that people in the islands will know best where it should be spent, funding is being allocated directly to the six island local authorities to support the needs of their communities. For Orkney, it means that £305,000 will be available to take urgent action in helping mitigate the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on households. I look forward to seeing how councillors and officials decide how best to use it to support folk across the islands in the coming weeks and months.
Finally, if you work or volunteer for a charity in Scotland, the Scottish Parliament committee of which I am Deputy Convener is looking for your views. As part of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee’s work, we will scrutinise proposed changes to the law for charities, and we want to hear from you. Find out more and share your views at this link: https://yourviews.parliament.scot/sjssc/charities-bill/
This is a regular column by SNP MSP Emma Roddick. All Highlands and Islands MSPs have been offered the same space in The Orkney News to share their personal views.