During the debate on the Queen’s speech in Parliament this week, Island MP Bob Seely pushed forward with his campaign for an Island Deal – which would result in more Government funding for the Island.
Bob highlighted the challenges faced by the Island due to it being separated from the mainland by sea. He said:
“Throughout the UK, in order to support islands and isolated communities, the Government have generally provided either a bridge, as in the case of the Isle of Skye, or increased levels of funding, as in the case of the Scottish Islands Needs Allowance.
“The Isle of Wight has to all intents and purposes been treated as part of the mainland United Kingdom, because we have never had additional support despite the additional costs.”
Mr Seely recognised the Prime Minister’s agreement in principle for an Island Deal saying:
“The Prime Minister has been generous enough to agree the need for an Island settlement. He has done so on visits to the Island in June this year, on record in the House on 25 September and in private conversations with me. I therefore hope that this is a discussion on content and not principle.”
Bob presented his evidence-based case highlighting six key areas where the Island needed extra support. These were local authority public services, healthcare, agriculture, infrastructure, housing, a combined model for integration of the Island’s health, social care and public services and transport.
Speaking after the debate Bob said:
“I want to make sure that the Island is recognised as an Island in Westminster. That is starting to happen, and Ministers are listening.
“I now want to make sure that the Government is not only hearing our concerns but acting on them. I have drafted a letter to the Prime Minister setting out the Island’s case for additional funding and will send it shortly.
“I will continue to push the Island’s case at every opportunity and continue to represent Islanders in the best way I can.”
Bob is due to write to the Prime Minister with full details of the proposed deal next week.