The Scottish Government is working with island communities to boost economic returns on unrivalled natural, cultural and economic assets, Scottish First Minister said ahead of a Cabinet meeting in Stornoway on April 16.
Support for the Gaelic language, measures to support renewable energy investment, and assistance for the islands tourism industry will be among the measures that Ministers will highlight in the coming days.
This will build on the support the Scottish Government has provided to the islands in recent years, through investment in transport, education, wind, wave and tidal energy, and tourism and enterprise.
The First Minister said: “This week’s Cabinet meeting in Stornoway will highlight the valuable economic and cultural contribution made by Scotland’s island communities, and we will continue to work with those communities to identify additional measures to help support that contribution.
“This Government is providing support to the islands through infrastructure investment, improving access to wider Scottish, EU and international markets.
“And in terms of tourism, the introduction of the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET), saw visitor numbers to Western Isles, Coll and Tiree increase by 30,000 every year following its launch in 2008.
“While tourism is of vital importance to island economies, there are many other areas where we are working with the islands to make the most of their natural resources, including renewable energy, engineering, food and drink, and biotechnology.
“Not only that, but we are helping to safeguard the cultural identity of the islands through investment and support for the Gaelic language.
“The Scottish Government will continue to work with our island communities to make the most of their unrivalled natural economic and cultural assets, supporting current and future generations of islanders.”
Press release, April 14, 2014; Image: aquamarinepower