MSP praises rural pledges in SNP plans
THE Scottish government’s parliamentary programme as laid out by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon recently will provide a boost for the West Highlands.
That’s the view of SNP MSP, Mike Mackenzie, who has hailed the plan – which includes policies on rural housing, Crown Estate revenues and an Islands Bill – as a boon for the Highlands and Islands, the region he represents in Holyrood.
The programme outlines the legislation the Scottish government will introduce between now and the end of March, and also the key policies it will pursue for the remainder of the parliament to support the economy, create a fairer society and improve public services.
Mr Mackenzie, who lives in Easdale, said: ‘This programme will bring substantive benefits to communities across the Highlands and islands. For example, devolution of the Crown Estate to Scotland will be good for island communities.
‘I am also delighted to welcome the establishment of a dedicated rural housing fund. Lack of affordable housing in rural areas is a blight which must be tackled in order to reverse damaging trends such as depopulation and the damaging economic and social impact across the Highlands and islands.’
He added: ‘ The Islands Bill - which is set to be introduced to parliament - is a project I am particularly pleased to watch come to fruition.
‘As an islander myself, I worked closely with the minister, Derek Mackay, on bringing together a bill intended to ‘island proof’ future legislation – in other words – to ensure the unique and varied interests of our many islands are always given the priority and consideration they deserve from lawmakers.
‘Another major focus of the bill is to devolve as much power to the islands as is workable, on the basis that people who live in local communities are in the best position to take decisions about those communities.’