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First Minister John Swinney has announced a £5 million package for Scotland’s island communities.

The funding is to help island communities tackle local issues and invest in new opportunities to help deliver a more prosperous future. 

The announcement was to have been made in Shetland, but the First Minister’s flight was turned back due to fog at Lerwick Airport.

The funding package forms part of the First Minister’s four priorities: eradicating child poverty, growing Scotland’s economy, investing in green energy and infrastructure, and improving public services. 

First Minister John Swinney said: “I have made it clear that I will be First Minister for everyone in Scotland – including our island communities who face a number of unique challenges but have enormous potential.

“Islanders have been clear that more needs to be done to help them fulfil their ambitions, and that is why we are developing a new National Islands Plan to be published next year.

“We will listen to island communities and speak with local authorities to ensure the new plan meets their needs.

“In the meantime, we will continue to invest in our Islands Programme, which, over the last three financial years, has distributed over £12 million to support 61 projects on 50 islands.”

Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has welcomed the additional funding, saying it will make a “big difference locally”.

He commented: “Those of us fortunate enough to call the islands our home are well aware of the additional challenges island living brings. Tailored funding for island communities demonstrates the Scottish Government’s recognition that our islands need the right resources and investment to reverse depopulation and secure our islands’ long-term sustainability.”