Emma Roddick MSP : Summer Surgeries

head and shoulders image of Emma Roddick giving a speech in the Scottish Parliament

While the week ahead of summer recess can be especially hectic at Holyrood, the moves by Orkney Islands Council to explore options for alternative models of governance added a bit of extra interest this year.

There were some very interesting arguments being made, but I wasn’t sure if I was hearing right when one councillor claimed that Orkney gets nothing from the Scottish Government.  You need only look at the £77.4 million from the Scottish Government for NHS Orkney’s new Balfour Hospital and associated healthcare facilities, delivering state-of-the-art health services in the islands, to know that this is not true.

And there was also £40 million given by the Scottish Government to Orkney’s £58 million Schools Investment Programme.

More recently, £300,000 of Scottish Government funding for economic recovery after COVID has gone to the Orkney Money Matters project, tackling food insecurity in the islands through a cash-first approach, giving money directly to those in immediate need. 

This, of course, is only a small taste of the ways Orkney benefits from the SNP at Holyrood.

This constitutional investigation also came mere days after the signing of the Verity House Agreement, promoting trust and respect in the relationship between the Scottish Government and local authorities.  The Agreement commits the Scottish Government to work with local authorities, including Orkney Islands Council to:

  • Tackle poverty, particularly child poverty, in recognition of the joint national mission to tackle child poverty;
  • Transform our economy through a just transition to deliver net zero, recognising climate change as one of the biggest threats to communities across Scotland, and
  • Deliver sustainable person-centred public services recognising the fiscal challenges, aging demography and opportunities to innovate.

Hopefully, priorities we can all get behind.  In signing up to the Verity House Agreement, the Scottish Government and local authorities have jointly accepted that changes are required in the relationship between us – the way we work together, how we will approach these and other shared priorities, and how we engage with each other in a positive and proactive manner.  Building a new Scotland requires bold thinking in local councils and national government, but we need to be working together – not at odds with each other. Looking further ahead, I am all for Orcadians deciding their own future based on their needs and wishes.  I just can’t see how that happens from within the UK as it is built now.  I see an independent Scotland as a means to the end of stronger, more local democracy across our nation – including in Orkney.

I suspect this discussion will come up as I travel around the Highlands & Islands during recess to speak about local issues.

Emma Roddick standing in Tankerness House Gardens

My Orkney surgeries will be on 10th and 11th August, in Kirkwall and Hoy respectively.

If you are in need of help, please contact my office to book a slot.

You can email emma.roddick.msp@parliament.scot including your name, address and contact number, or phone 01463 563036.

I’ve also included online surgeries to the summer schedule for the first time. With one having been held on Saturday, the two remaining are on 1st and 18th August. 

Appointments for these will take place over Teams or Zoom, depending on your preference.

But remember you don’t have to wait for a surgery to ask for help. Contact me by phone or email at any time.

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 views.

More on The Verity House Agreement here: Why did Orkney Jump Ship After Signing The Verity House Agreement?

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