We’ve been asking the candidates in the upcoming council elections what their views on autonomy are. The specific questions we asked are:-
1. Do you believe Shetland should have more powers locally?
2. Do you think autonomy is something the next Council should investigate (as the Orkney Islands Council are taking steps to do)?
We shall be adding a page for each response as they come in.
Andrea Manson – Shetland North – Wir Shetland Member
Many thanks for giving me the opportunity to answer your questions on further powers and autonomy for the Shetland Isles.
Do I believe Shetland should have more powers locally? Yes, definitely. Our powers and voice are being eroded as the Central Belt increases its grip on available finances. Our Islands Our Future has been a talking shop and we are light years away from any significant changes. The Crown Estate has been devolved to Scotland and I have every expectation that it will just be used as a money earner by Scottish Government and we will see no benefits here. We have been promised devolved powers through the Island Bill but we await details of what these will be. It always seems to be next month or next year. We have been promised a lot and I am fed up with feeling like the ‘poor relation’ when the Council are offered their Grant from Scottish Government.
Do I think autonomy is something the next Council should investigate? In these ever changing times it is essential that we have more say in our affairs. We need to have more powers to encourage the Oil Industry to bring the oil from the waters around us to SVT or SGP, we need to be able to protect the seas around us from overfishing by foreign boats, we need to have a seat at the table when our affairs and our future is being discussed, we need to be the ones issuing the contract for our Lifeline Services. The only way ahead is more autonomy and I am proud to be part of ‘Wir Shetland’ which will fight for more autonomy to secure a better financial future and protect our unique heritage. The Council must be encouraged to be involved in this from the outset and I do hope we will follow Orkney’s lead and seek further advice on our future position.