Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has challenged a report released this week by the Scottish Government on the future of the marine economy in the event of Scotland leaving the UK. Mr Carmichael labelled “galling” the suggestion that separating from the UK would empower coastal communities, highlighting the SNP-Green government’s ongoing centralisation of services and local authority powers.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Between the SNP-Green government in Holyrood and the Conservatives in Westminster, the attitude towards our coastal communities sits somewhere between disinterest and open contempt. Fishermen and others working in the marine economy deserve better than these two tired governments.
“This report rightly identifies that there are enormous opportunities for our marine economy in the isles and elsewhere. The expertise and the energy is there just waiting to be unlocked. The best way to unlock that potential, however, is to decentralise power and accountability to island and coastal communities – something that the SNP-Green government has steadfastly refused to do.
“It is a little galling to be told that leaving the UK would be a chance to empower coastal communities in Scotland by a government which has hoarded power in the Central Belt at every turn. Between their HPMAs and other proposals, if the nationalists believe in backing our communities then they have a funny way of showing it.”