WHERE'S our Island Deal? — that was the question put to Prime Minister Boris Johnson by the Isle of Wight Council leader in a letter this week.

Cllr Dave Stewart has requested an update on the Prime Minister's promise of extra government help made on the Island during the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election campaign and repeated during a Brexit debate in the House of Commons later that same year.

Read more: Boris Johnson's Island Deal pledge

Cllr Stewart said: "I am confident this is something still on the Prime Minister’s agenda, but I recognise he has his hands full dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, Brexit and rebuilding the nation’s economy.

"Nevertheless, I just wanted to remind him that this deal is really important to the Island and will make us better able to deal with these same challenges.”

In his letter, Cllr Stewart highlighted research carried out by the University of Portsmouth which found the additional cost of providing local government services on the Island was £6.4 million more than other authorities.

"This uplift would enable us to continue to 'balance the books' and address our ever increasing budget gap (currently £3.5m each year for the next three years) inline with our medium term financial strategy," he wrote.

"I appreciate that the wider Fair Funding Review has been delayed because of the pandemic, but there is still the opportunity for the government to bring forward an initial settlement for the Isle of Wight in recognition of our circumstances.

"I would therefore ask you and the Chancellor to consider this approach."

Cllr Stewart and the Island's MP, Bob Seely, have both pushed for an Island Deal to secure additional government money to reflect the Isle of Wight's challenges as an island.

Isle of Wight County Press: Isle of Wight councillors with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when they were assured of an Island Deal Isle of Wight councillors with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, when they were assured of an Island Deal

Read more: Councillors assured of Island Deal after meeting Boris Johnson

In his letter, copied to Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and to the Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick, Cllr Stewart said the council 'had done our part so far', such as acquiring the Venture Quays site in East Cowes to secure jobs in marine manufacturing and increase the supply of affordable housing.

He also highlighted the important role the Island community had played in piloting the NHS Covid-19 contact tracing app which has since been rolled out nationally to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Cllr Stewart added: "We are now looking to the future with a range of ambitious initiatives to help the Isle of Wight on the road to recovery from the challenges of coronavirus, which have hit our local economy particularly hard."

Meanwhile, council officers have also been in contact with officials at the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) setting out the authority's fragile financial position due to the pandemic.

Read more: Where's our Island Deal?