ENTERTAINMENT

The Shetland City Councils vote overwhelmingly in favor of considering independence from Scotland


The Shetland Islands vote for independence from Scotland – can Nicola Sturgeon reject it without torpedoing her own referendum?

  • Council members argued that decision-making had become increasingly centralized
  • They said public funding for the islands was cut under the SNP government
  • Voted in favor of examining options for “financial and political self-determination”

The Shetland Islands Council has voted overwhelmingly to seek ways to become financially and politically independent from Scotland.

In a debate lasting more than an hour, members argued that decision-making was increasingly centralized and public funding for the islands was cut under the SNP government.

City councils voted 18 to two in favor of a motion for a formal review of options for achieving financial and political self-determination.

The Shetland Islands Council has voted overwhelmingly to seek ways to become financially and politically independent from Scotland

The motion, signed by Council Chairman Steven Coutts and organizer Malcolm Bell, states: "We are concerned that this ongoing situation seriously threatens the prosperity and even the basic sustainability of the Shetland Islands as a community."

Every step for Shetland to determine itself would have to be supported by an island-wide referendum, stressed the city council.

Mr Coutts suggested that decentralization had not benefited the Shetland Islands – famous for its Up Helly Aa fire festivals, which burn Viking ships – and said the Scottish Parliament felt "far away" from the islanders.

City councils voted 18 to two in favor of a motion for a formal review of options for achieving financial and political self-determination. Pictured: Participants in the Shetland Up Helly Aa fire festival

City councils voted 18 to two in favor of a motion for a formal review of options for achieving financial and political self-determination. Pictured: Participants in the Shetland Up Helly Aa fire festival

Council Chairman Steven Coutts claimed the amount of funding for ferries "had a negative impact on the Shetland Islands and all of the Shetland Islands". Pictured: City of Scalloway and its port in the Shetland Islands

Council Chairman Steven Coutts claimed the amount of funding for ferries "had a negative impact on the Shetland Islands and all of the Shetland Islands". Pictured: City of Scalloway and its port in the Shetland Islands

He claimed the amount of funding for ferries "had a negative impact on the Shetland Islands and all Shetland Islands" despite the government claiming to have allocated more than £ 15 million to ferry services in the past three years.

Shetland West City Council referred to the 2013 Lerwick Declaration by former First Minister Alex Salmond when he announced plans to decentralize power on the islands.

Mr Coutts quoted Mr Salmond's statement: "We believe that the people who live and work in Scotland are best placed to make decisions about our future." & # 39;

Shetland West City Council referred to the 2013 Lerwick Declaration by former First Minister Alex Salmond when he announced plans to decentralize power on the islands. Pictured: incumbent Nicola Sturgeon

Shetland West City Council referred to the 2013 Lerwick Declaration by former First Minister Alex Salmond when he announced plans to decentralize power on the islands. Pictured: incumbent Nicola Sturgeon

Every step for Shetland to determine itself would have to be supported by an island-wide referendum, stressed the city council

Every step for Shetland to determine itself would have to be supported by an island-wide referendum, stressed the city council

Before speaking with the British and Scottish Governments, Coutts said: "I hope they recognize the challenges of life in the Shetland Islands, such as the high cost of living, but also the incredible opportunities that political and financial self-determination could bring."

In response to the vote, Island Minister Paul Wheelhouse said the Shetland Islands had not requested any further powers under the new regulations introduced last year.

He said: "It is the responsibility of local authorities to manage their own budgets and allocate the resources available to them based on local needs and priorities."

Councilors argued that decision-making was increasingly centralized and public funding for the islands was cut under the SNP government. Pictured: Ceremony at the Shetland Up Helly Aa Fire Festival

Councilors argued that decision-making was increasingly centralized and public funding for the islands was cut under the SNP government. Pictured: Ceremony at the Shetland Up Helly Aa Fire Festival

The government said it has allocated more than £ 15million to Shetland ferry services over the past three years. Pictured: fishing boats in the waters around the islands

The government said it has allocated more than £ 15million to Shetland ferry services over the past three years. Pictured: fishing boats in the waters around the islands

It comes as Scotland's incumbent First Minister Nicola Sturgeon resumes her own plans for a second Scottish independence referendum after Brexit.

Earlier this year, she told BBC's Andrew Marr that she believed the SNP's handling of the coronavirus pandemic was an example of "Show Don't Tell" for independence.

She claimed that support for Scotland to leave the UK has increased in recent months.

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