IF re-elected to control of North Ayrshire Council on May 4, the SNP has revealed plans for a new island proofing procedure which will ensure that future policy proposals will be subject to a rigorous procedure of checks to make certain that they take account of the unique situation of our islands and their communities.

Ardrossan and Arran Councillor Tony Gurney said: “The Scottish Government is committed to empowering local communities to take greater control.

“Our islands make a significant contribution, both from a cultural and economic perspective to North Ayrshire and to Scotland. However, they do face specific challenges around their geographic remoteness, declining populations, transport and digital connectivity, and supporting sustainable economic growth.

“The council established a very successful Economic Working Group on Arran and we have recently done the same on Cumbrae.

“These bring together local businesses, council officers, CalMac, Councillors and other stakeholders. The focus of the groups is to maximise the potential for wider economic growth on the islands. Our aim is to have sustainable, vibrant and prosperous island communities which meet the needs of our existing and future residents.”

Cllr Gurney also confirmed that a future SNP administration at North Ayrshire would ensure that one of the Council’s Cabinet Members has specific responsibility for island issues, including taking forward proposals from the soon to be announced Scottish Islands Bill.

Ellen McMaster, who is Councillor Gurney’s SNP running mate and lives on Arran, added: “The SNP has done much to boost the local economy of both Arran and Cumbrae with the £20m redevelopment of Brodick Harbour, £12m Flood Prevention Scheme for Cumbrae and a £1.5m Millport Town Centre Regeneration Scheme.

“The Ayrshire Growth Deal proposals to Government include proposals that relate to our islands and specifically on Maritime Tourism.

“To move things onto the next level we believe that we now need to provide a focal point within the council for island issues and having a Cabinet Member with this responsibility will ensure that our islands continue to receive the attention and support that they require in order to thrive.”