Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, today challenged the Government in the House of Commons to ensure a strong and bespoke Islands Growth Deal.
Many across the UK have benefitted from Growth Deals but these have been designed around a sum of money related to population numbers. For the joint proposal by the Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles this would produce a sum of money that would not achieve any significant developments.
Speaking in the House, Mr. Carmichael said:
“On the subject of the quantum for the Islands Deal to which the Secretary of State has already referred, will he confirm that he will pursue with the Treasury a basis that is different from the per capita funding of other deals because otherwise the Deal for the Islands will never be a meaningful one?”
Responding for the Government, the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, said:
“The Honourable Gentleman raises a very good point. Previously these deals have been done on the basis of per capita, and we recognise that the islands are a huge geographical area and that funding per capita would bring a very low outcome so we are in discussions with Treasury about raising the quantum.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael said:
“I am glad to see that this important issue for the isles is on the radar of the Government. The general commitment to a bespoke funding plan for the Islands Growth Deal is welcome. It remains to be seen, however, how the specifics of this funding will look.
“This deal is long overdue, and with its focus on “breaking the logjam” there is no reason why the Government cannot make swift progress here. I look forward to discussing this further with the Government and the Islands Executives to ensure that we have an Islands Growth Deal that is fit for purpose. It is high time to get this over the line.”