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H&I Convention to meet in Lerwick

| Written by Hans J Marter

Deputy first minister John Swinney outside Mareel in March 2013, the last time the Convention of the Highlands and Islands was held in Lerwick - Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media Deputy first minister John Swinney outside Mareel in March 2013, the last time the Convention of the Highlands and Islands was held in Lerwick - Photo: Malcolm Younger/Millgaet Media AS MANY as six Scottish government ministers will visit Shetland on Monday for a meeting of the Convention of the Highlands and Islands.

Every six months, government ministers meet representative from local authorities and other public sector bodies in different locations across the region.

Key issues this time will be, among others, Scottish government funding for the inter island ferry service, the northern isles lifeline ferry contract and the work of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The six-strong delegation of ministers will be led by deputy first minister and education secretary John Swinney.

Other ministers attending are rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing, economy secretary Keith Brown, minister for business, innovation and energy Paul Wheelhouse, minister for local government and housing Kevin Stewart and minister for transport and the islands Humza Yousaf.

While in Shetland, Fergus Ewing will meet with the local fishermen's association to discuss their worries for the forthcoming Brexit negotiation as well as the fishing activities of the Faroese pelagic fleet in the waters around Shetland.

Transport minister Humza Yousaf will use the opportunity to officially mark the completion of the £8 million refurbishment of Sumburgh Airport.

Swinney said: "This government is committed to making sure the Highlands and Islands continues to flourish as a region.

"We are determined to work with local agencies and communities to capture and exploit appropriate opportunities to drive economic growth.

Shetland Islands Council leader, Gary Robinson added: "This is the second and final time that the convention will meet in Shetland during the lifetime of the current council.

"As ever, there's a packed agenda covering a range of important issues; everything from transport to energy supply, broadband to‎ fuel poverty.

"I'm also very pleased ‎that we'll have as many as six cabinet secretaries and ministers in attendance and contributing to the discussions this time."

The meeting of the convention at Mareel, in Lerwick, is open to the public. It gets under way at 9am.

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