Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has questioned the results of a review of skills and enterprise services which proposes a new Scotland-wide statutory board to co-ordinate the activities of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The Comhairle welcomed the retention of HIE but called for a more community based focus in economic development and for the principles of Our Islands: Our Future to be retained in the restructuring.

Angus Campbell Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “I would hope that any restructuring takes account of the original principles of HIE – that is to address the particular needs of crofting areas. I look forward to seeing more detail on this at a time when the islands face particular economic challenges which are only going to get tougher as we move towards Brexit. I don’t think extra layers in the decision making process are not necessarily the best way forward for the Islands where our priorities and challenges are very different from those of other parts of Scotland. We would hope that the principles of Our Islands Our Future would be adhered to and I would certainly want to see a community based focus in line with community empowerment. If there is to be a statutory board then at the very least there should be a commitment to Island representation”.