A Scottish Government minister has said that he hopes a multi-million-pound growth deal with Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles can been struck as “quickly as possible”.
Finance Secretary Derek Mackay reassured islanders that he was “keen” to progress the package of investment imminently.
Local authorities on the islands have been working on plans for an “islands deal” for several years, amid hopes it could help create more than 600 jobs and secure £200 million of public and private funding.
However, the agreement with the islands was not mentioned by Chancellor Philip Hammond as one of the deals in progress during his Budget last month.
Quizzed about the rate of progress by Labour MSP Rhoda Grant yesterday, Mr Mackay told Holyrood insisted that the government remained committed to the deal.
He said: “Progress on the islands deal will be contingent on agreement with the UK Government and the islands authorities.
“We are working in partnership with those stakeholders and partners and—of course—we want to take the deal forward as quickly as possible.
“We are in the hands of others with regard to the ask that is made of that collective partnership, but I want to parliament to be very clear that we are keen to get on with that growth deal.”