Coronavirus / Islands shouldn’t be an afterthought in recovery from Covid, MSPs say

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart and her Orkney counterpart Liam McArthur have written to the Scottish Government to encourage officials to place the islands at the “front and centre” of their thinking when it comes to the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Their letter to cabinet secretary for Covid recovery John Swinney comes ahead of a cross party steering group meeting next week.

The isles MSPs shared the frustration of many of their constituents who felt that Orkney and Shetland were often seen as an “afterthought” in Scottish Government decision making processes.

In the letter, the MSPs pointed to repeated announcements that updated central belt communities while neglecting to mention the differences in restrictions for the islands.

The MSPs wrote to Swinney to “ask for assurances that the specific needs of island communities are taken properly into account in any future planning and decisions”.

“As we look ahead to dealing with the impacts of the pandemic and shaping the recovery, it is important that this work fully reflects the islands dimension,” Wishart and McArthur said.


“We seek assurances, therefore, that steps will be taken to ensure that this happens. Close collaboration with locally elected representatives, including the island authorities, will be important but we would encourage you and your officials to look at other ways of making sure this happens from the outset.

“Needless to say, we would be happy to meet with you to discuss this matter in more detail. Meantime, we wish you well in the substantial task that lies ahead and stand ready to assist, particularly in ensuring the needs of our islands are front and centre of government thinking.”

The islands have consistently had a relatively low prevalence of coronavirus cases during the pandemic.

On Monday, Scottish islands dropped to level one Covid restrictions, while the majority of the mainland only moved from level three to two.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.