Orkney to consider alternative models of governance

Orkney Islands Council has voted in favour of considering other forms of governance, such as looking at the possibility of becoming a British overseas territory (such as the Falkland Islands) or even looking to its historic link to Norway or Denmark and becoming part of those Nordic nations. Another option being considered is Crown Dependencies like that of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. The Crown Dependencies are not part of the UK but are self-governing dependencies of the Crown. Councillors feel both the UK and Scottish Government’s short change Orkney in funding support, claiming Orkney receives less funding per head from Government than other island authorities such as Shetland and the Western Isles.

Nordic connections

The motion read: “Due to historical and contemporary challenges in relation to equitable capital and revenue funding, and policy support across our island communities, Orkney Islands Council should now explore options for alternative models of governance that provide greater fiscal security and economic opportunity for the islands of Orkney. Those investigations to include Nordic connections, crown dependencies and other options for greater subsidiarity and autonomy to be presented to the community for consideration.”

The UK Government has rejected the notion and a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: “First and foremost there is no mechanism for the conferral of Crown Dependency or Overseas Territory status on any part of the UK. We have no plans to change the devolution settlement we are supporting Orkney with £50m to grow the economic prosperity of the Scottish islands, through the islands deal. But the government’s position is that the UK is stronger united.”

Orkney was under Norwegian and Danish control until 1472 when it became part of Scotland as part of Margaret of Denmark’s wedding dowry to King James III of Scotland.

Main photo: The flag of Orkney which symbolises the islands’ Scottish and Norwegian heritage.

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