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Sarwar puts focus on islanders ‘treated as afterthought’ by current governments

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Scotland’s island communities are “treated as an afterthought” by both the Scottish and UK governments, Anas Sarwar has said.

The Scottish Labour leader claimed islanders have suffered as a result of the “incompetent and dysfunctional” governments, as he highlighted how “Tory economic turmoil” has led to prices for goods in remote areas often being higher than in other parts of the UK.

Mr Sarwar also criticised the Scottish Government for its failure to deliver new ferries to run on lifeline routes, and he accused ministers of failing to invest in rural housing and healthcare.

Ahead of an election campaign visit to the Western Isles on Saturday, Mr Sarwar said: “For too long Scotland’s islands and rural communities have been forced to pay the price for two incompetent and dysfunctional governments.

Anas Sarwar cited the ‘ferry fiasco’ as one area where the Scottish Government has failed to deliver for islanders (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“Tory economic turmoil has hit these communities hard, pushing already-high energy and food bills through the roof.

“Meanwhile, the SNP has piled on pressure as it presides over a ferry fiasco, a rural housing crisis and the decline of rural healthcare.

“Rural communities and islands have seen public services hollowed out by two governments treating them as an afterthought.”

He said Labour is “fighting to win in every single part of Scotland” in the General Election on July 4, as he vowed the party will “deliver change for every single part of Scotland”.

Mr Sarwar added: “Labour’s plans to back ‘Brand Scotland’ will help to unlock the vast economic potential of rural Scotland and its iconic food, drink and tourism industries.

“Lower bills, higher wages, renewed public services and a stronger economy are on the ballot paper at this election. This is the change that Scotland’s rural and island communities need.”

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