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Argyll and Bute Council’s leader has welcomed the announcement that Scotland’s island communities will be aligned with the mainland as the country comes out of Covid-19 restrictions.
Kintyre and the Islands councillor Robin Currie, who lives on Islay, said that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement gave clarity to island communities, which have been in level three for some time, but will not change when the whole of Scotland goes to that level on Monday, April 26.
That will allow people to move more freely between the islands and the mainland.
During a virtual meeting of the full council on Thursday, April 15, Councillor Currie said: ‘I have had every possible opportunity over the last few months to make the case for our island communities when it comes to the easing of restrictions.
‘Since the turn of the year, and since the robust proposals were revealed some weeks ago, I have had countless representations from people and businesses who have been desperate for clarity.
‘I was therefore delighted at the announcement confirming that our island communities will be treated the same as the mainland.
‘This gives them certainty that they will now be able to start making plans again, whether to see their families on the mainland or those families to come to them.
‘Like us all, I am looking forward to more normal times in the coming weeks as we move down the levels, should the data support this. It is very welcome news.’
He had also said in a report, which was written in advance of the announcement: ‘Following the first announcement of forthcoming changes I wrote to Aileen Campbell MSP, then cabinet secretary for communities and local government, seeking an urgent meeting.
‘We managed to arrange this in early course and I was able to relay to her the very real need for clarity on arrangements for islands, some of which have been in different levels to the mainland for some time.
‘It is to be hoped that, by the time this report is considered by the council, the required clarity has been provided.
‘The direct impact is of course on the islands themselves but it is also important to bear in mind considerations for adjacent mainland communities as well as Argyll and Bute’s overall social and economic recovery from the pandemic.’