During a visit to Raasay today (Thursday) Islands Minister Humza Yousaf announced the creation of a new Scottish Government Islands Strategic Group.
The group will be made up of representatives from six local authority areas which have inhabited islands – these are understood to include Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar as well as the councils of North Ayrshire, Argyll and Bute.
Although exact membership has yet to be confirmed, Skye, Lochaber and Lochalsh MSP Kate Forbes believes it is a step in the right direction for island communities to have a stronger voice.
She said: “Along with the introduction of an Islands Bill, the SNP had a manifesto commitment to create a new Islands Strategic Group – which I believe is a step forward.”
During today’s visit Mr Yousaf took time to chat with members of the local community council who raised their concerns about a lack of nursing cover on the island and their belief that this is putting families off moving to Raasay. He said that healthcare was one of five key planks in the forthcoming Islands Bill and that he would be writing to his Scottish Government colleagues in health about the situation.
Mr Yousaf also visited the proposed site for a new distillery, the new community centre facilities and Raasay House.
Miss Forbes added: “It’s a pleasure to welcome the Transport and Islands Minister Humza Yousaf to Raasay today. The Raasay community have been working tirelessly and innovatively over the last few years and there’s been great progress. But none of these success stories are sustainable without adequate healthcare and I share the community’s grave concern on this issue.”