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MP inquiry visits northern isles next week

A GROUP of MPs will be visiting Shetland from Sunday to Tuesday as part of the House of Commons Scottish affairs select committee’s inquiry into the Crown Estate in Scotland.

The MPs will have a series of private meetings with individuals and organisations and also tour Lerwick harbour and the Shetland museum and archives.

MPs are scheduled to meet Shetland Marine Energy Group, Shetland Aquaculture, Lerwick Port Authority and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, on Monday.

On Tuesday they go to Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Arts, Promote Shetland, Shetland Islands Council’s Telecom Project, Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd, and the council’s development committee before leaving for Orkney and Caithness.

The committee’s chairman, Labour Glasgow south west MP Ian Davidson, said: “The majority of our meetings and visits will focus on aspects of the committee’s inquiry into the Crown Estate in Scotland, particularly in examining how the Crown Estate can best act in the public interest and its relationship with local communities which are directly affected by the decisions it makes.

“It is vital that we meet individuals and organisations on the ground, to hear firsthand about their experiences.”

He added: “We are also taking the opportunity of the visit to incorporate strands of our inquiry on health and safety in Scotland.

“Again, we want to talk directly to people about the effectiveness of health and safety regulation in Scotland, for example what are the specific concerns of local businesses in sectors such as fishing, renewable energy and oil and gas.

“In addition, we will also seek information as to how employment and enterprise are being sustained in the present economic difficulties. In particular, we will want to clarify how helpful banks are being in supporting all their customers.”

The other committee members are: Fiona Bruce MP (Con, Congleton), Mike Freer MP (Con, Finchley and Golders Green),  Cathy Jamieson MP (Lab/Co-op, Kilmarnock and Loudoun), Jim McGovern MP (Lab, Dundee West), David Mowat MP (Con, Warrington South), Fiona O’Donnell MP (Lab, East Lothian), Mr Alan Reid MP (LD, Argyll and Bute), Simon Reevell MP (Con, Dewsbury), Lindsay Roy MP (Lab, Glenrothes), and Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP (SNP, Banff and Buchan).