Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has reacted to the First Minister’s announcement today that the Northern Isles would come out of Covid restrictions at the same time as the rest of Scotland, with a move to Level 2 on 17 May. The news comes after almost a month of doubt over the status of Scottish islands in restriction changes, after a confusing and poorly implemented survey was released with little information some weeks ago.
Reacting to the news, Mr Carmichael said:
“It is good that we now have some clarity on isles restrictions but people will be frustrated that we had to wait so long only to get the same answer as everybody else. If it is all the same as the rest of Scotland then why did they sit on their hands so long? In the meantime, our businesses have suffered from the relative uncertainty compared to the mainland, losing bookings and trade.
“After a long period of severe restrictions we can all welcome progress towards reopening, however slow. We have to do all we can to make this the last lockdown.
“Questions remain about their consultation process for islanders, which was clear as mud and left people feeling ignored. If this is how the Scottish Government views the importance of the isles then it shows we have a long way to go before the promise of the Islands Act is fulfilled.”