A date has been set and the invitation sent to the Isle of Wight Council, for the first meeting of a new forum for Islands, to take place in September.

Representatives from our Island, as well as from Scotland's Bute, Islay, Mull, Coll and more, and also from the Isles of Scilly and Wales' Anglesey have all been invited to Orkney.

The first Islands Forum will be chaired by Secretary of State Michael Gove.

Speaking today (Tuesday), Mr Gove said: "Island communities contribute a huge amount to the UK and often face common challenges. Our new Islands Forum will bring communities together and give our islands a stronger voice."

When was the Island Forum first unveiled?

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely welcomed the creation of the forum when it was first announced, in February, calling it a 'collective voice at the heart of Government.'

In Parliament, Mr Seely said: "I thank the Secretary of State so much for taking forward the Islands Forum idea.

"Can he assure us that the Islands Forum will give a voice to islands, such as the Isle of Wight, to be part of the prosperity agenda: in education, in high-quality jobs as well as landscape and escape protection for some of the most unique and beautiful parts of Great Britain?"

Michael Gove said: "The Islands Forum is an idea developed following conversations and advocacy from my Honourable Friend [Seely] because we recognise absolutely, as he has consistently pointed out, that there are particular challenges that island communities face that are the result of distance and dispersal and we need to tackle them."

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Today, Mr Gove added: “Whether it is the requirement for better transport connectivity or opportunities for economic development, I want to hear directly from island communities across the UK what they need to unlock their full potential.

“The UK Government’s goal is to unite and level up our whole United Kingdom, from Shetland to the Scillies. This new forum will make sure that our islands are placed right at the heart of our levelling up mission.”

In 2021, £5.8 million in levelling up cash was announced for the East Cowes Marine Hub project.

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