- Representatives from Island communities from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be invited to join the Islands Forum
- The Forum, which was announced in the Levelling Up White Paper, will allow participating islands to collaborate together to tackle common challenges and engage with the UK government
- The Secretary of State intends to chair the first Forum later in the year
The UK government will establish a new Islands Forum to empower island communities to communicate directly with government, inform future policy, and work together, the Levelling Up White Paper confirmed.
The proposed forum will allow government to hear and learn from island communities across the UK. These communities face common challenges in areas such as connectivity, infrastructure, and depopulation.
Through the Forum, attendees will be able to share experiences and learn from success to overcome these challenges, as we unite and level up every corner of the United Kingdom. We also plan to work closely with the devolved governments when establishing the Forum.
Secretary of State Michael Gove said:
Talent is equally spread across the United Kingdom, but opportunity is not. Our island communities face shared challenges and I want us to work together to overcome them, as we work to unite and level up the whole UK.
A number of island communities have already benefited from the Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Funds. Creating a new Islands Forum takes our commitment one step further and provides a new opportunity for island communities to work together to help their communities prosper.
Several projects in island communities have already benefited from cash injections through the levelling-up fund. This includes £173,400 committed to Argyll and Bute Council for investment into the West Coast UAV Innovation Logistics and training hub, which helps explore using drones to transport medical supplies to islands.
Meanwhile Anglesey has seen a boost of £2.7 million through the UK Community Renewal fund provided to six schemes including schemes to develop youth enterprise and provide high quality Health and Social Care education.
When establishing the Forum the government intends to work with island communities that already have existing multi-island council structures to find the best ways in which we can engage with them.