SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a 10-point manifesto for island communities. The Manifesto applies to all 93 inhabited Scottish islands
Ms Sturgeon highlighted new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament meant that May’s election is the most important since Devolution. Crown Estate and Winter Fuel payments aretwo new powers which a new SNP Government will put directly to work for the benefit of Arran’s communities. Ms Sturgeon commented:
“Investment and empowerment are at the heart of the SNP’s manifesto for the islands – a firm commitment to support local economies, while also giving islanders a greater say over their public services and resources.
“Our Island communities benefit from our record investment in the NHS and education. We delivered Road Equivalent Tariff to Arran 18 months ago and have frozen ferry fares this year. Having engaged extensively with stakeholders over the last couple of years, we’ll work with them to produce a National Islands Plan in the new session, and we’ll bring forward an Islands Bill to reflect the unique opportunities and challenges of island communities.”
Kenneth Gibson, SNP Candidate for Cunninghame North added:
“We are determined that the new powers coming to the Scottish Parliament are put to work for Arran and its people.
“Not only will Arran’s communities benefit from 100% of the Crown Estate revenues raised around its coast, but they will have a greater say in how the assets of the Crown Estate are managed.
“We’ll also ensure that Winter Fuel Payments, also being devolved, will be paid early to people who are 'off-grid' – making a huge difference to older people in remote parts of Arran.
“With the new powers coming to the Parliament, this is the most important election since devolution and by giving both votes to the SNP people can help to elect a Government which will use every power at its disposal for the good of Arran and its communities.”
The 10 key pledges in the SNP’s manifesto for Arran:
• We will develop a National Islands Plan to ensure Arranfulfils its economic potential.
• We will invest record amounts in Arran’s NHS, with enhanced community healthcare.
• We will double free childcare on Arran and take action to improve attainment.
• We will bring forward an Islands Bill so Arran’scommunities have a stronger voice and continue the Islands Working Group.
• Arran’s businesses will benefit from the Small Business Bonus and the entire island will have access to superfast broadband, 97% this year.
• We will invest £5m to supporting island and rural produce.
• We will support the island energy producers.
• We will pay winter fuel allowance early to people who are 'off-grid'.
• We will continue to provide concessionary travel for our older people and invest in quality ferry service provision,keeping fares fair.
• Arran’s communities will receive the full revenues from Crown Estate assets around its shores and have a greater say in how the assets of the Crown Estate are managed.