The economy is at the heart of our very survival according to Ealasaid MacDonald, Labour's candidate on the Western Isles in the General Election.
Speaking shortly after unveiling her key pledges in Barra, Ealasaid said: 'I am shocked and concerned at the clear decline in the economy across the whole of the islands.
"Over the past 12 years our islands have gone backwards. Where are the apprenticeships that used to keep our young people here? Where are the jobs which enabled people to stay and raise a family?
"Without investment and a long term economic plan, the islands' very survival is under threat. I appreciate that time changes but it is clear that little has been done by our MP to assist in stemming this tide of instability and ensuring that we have control of the key economic drivers which would breath life back in our economy.'
Ealasaid is standing on a platform that the islands need change and a new, credible voice in order to achieve the support that it needs. She is committed to campaigning for:
- An economic deal for the islands, mirroring the current city deals, which would include a commitment of financial investment which will provide economic stability and deliver growth.
- The monies raised by the Crown Estate to be transferred to benefit our communities. Money which has been raised as a result of our assets, as well as the policy and administration of the Crown Estate, should be devolved to the Comhairle.
- Delivery of the interconnector which has the potential to revolutionise our islands
- A tourism fund which will allow the development of vital facilities which would provide stability to this increasingly important sector.
- Improvement of transport links across the islands which are vital to our economic potential with a particular focus on the double tracking of the main roads through the islands.
Ealasaid added: 'I believe that stimulating our economy will go a long way to addressing a number of the issues we have in our islands. In order to provide our young people with opportunities and be in a position to care for those in need and our elderly, we must have the foundations of a varied and active economy creating jobs, investment and long term stability.
"Stability encourages growth which in turn attracts business and people. We have loads of assets we just need some action. I believe that our MP has had enough chances. It is time for a fresh approach. I am willing to work across party lines and with all organisations for the good of our islands.'