Orkney has been awarded an additional £218,000 from the Scottish Government to support islanders facing high fuel, food and energy costs .
In total £1million is going to communities in Scotland through the Islands Cost Crisis Emergency Fund which recognises the extra costs incurred in island living.
Commenting on the additional targeted funds Councillor Maureen Chalmers, COSLA’s Community Wellbeing Spokesperson said:
“The cost-of-living crisis continues to have a disproportionate impact on our island communities, with some areas facing costs up to 65% higher than on the mainland.
“This funding will allow for the continuation of past measures made possible by the Fund such as electricity vouchers, provision of meals and supporting local food initiatives.
“We appreciate the joint work which has taken place between Scottish and Local Government to ensure this funding is available to our most vulnerable islands communities before the winter.”
The funding has been awarded to the 6 Islands Authorities:
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|Argyll & Bute||141|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||257|
The Scottish Government has also launched a public consultation to review the current priorities of the National Islands Plan, five years after it was first published.
Local Government Empowerment Minister in the Scottish Government Joe FitzPatrick said:
“No one in Scotland has been shielded from the cost of living crisis – which has been exacerbated by the inflationary crisis caused by UK Government actions. But islanders often face even greater challenges, due to the unique circumstances of island life.
“Island council leaders have seen the cost of living crisis become more entrenched in their communities. As Minister responsible for local government, I am determined to step up and help those who need it the most even when the UK Government is turning its back on people.
“We have listened to island local authorities and are providing this £1 million of additional funding to help them target support where they have the most concerns.”
Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan was published in December 2019, after extensive consultation and engagement.
It was a key outcome from the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 and provides a framework for action to meaningfully improve outcomes for Scotland’s island communities.
It in turn was an outcome of Our Islands Our Future first put forward by the then Leader of OIC Councillor Steven Heddle which brought the three Islands Authorities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles together in shared aims.
The Islands (Scotland) Act requires a review of the Plan within 5 years of initial publication and this provides the Scottish Government an opportunity to engage with local authorities, island communities and partners to reflect on changes in circumstance for island communities since 2019. This may result in the National Islands Plan being revised.
A formal twelve-week consultation to support this review has now launched. The consultation is online and closes midnight 9 October 2023.
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