The Shetland islands have voted to explore independence from Scotland as they have become increasingly frustrated with the Edinburgh government.
The majority of Shetland’s 22 councillors voted to explore options for achieving “financial and political self-determination”.
The motion that was passed by the council said some of their decision-making powers had been taken away and public funding had been consistently reduced in recent years.
It read: “In order to look at alternatives to ensure Shetland can reach and maintain its full potential, we, the undersigned, move that: The Shetland Islands Council formally begins exploring options for achieving financial and political self-determination.”
Council leader Steven Coutts told the meeting there was “massive potential” in Shetland.
Councillors voted 18 to two in favour of the motion.
Any move for Shetland to become self-determining would need to be supported by an island-wide referendum, councillors stressed.
Coutts suggested devolution has not benefited the area and said the Scottish Parliament feels “remote” to islanders, who face some of the highest rates of fuel poverty in the country.
Coutts said the council planned to speak to the UK and Scottish governments next week about options for Shetland’s self-determination.
He told the PA News Agency: “The status quo is not working.”
He said: “Devolution and the Islands Act have not made any tangible difference to the quality of life.”
Councillor Ryan Thompson said: “Can anyone sitting around this table – and indeed remotely – honestly say that we haven’t witnessed almost a complete erosion of our democracy, ironically since devolution?
“Certainly over the last three years, I have seen a noticeable and sizeable difference – more and more decision-making powers centralised, more and more ring-fenced funding, more and more decisions being thrust upon us for us to make and then for us to find the funds to make them.
“Powers (have been) centralised, local authorities – precisely at a time when we could have been used to our advantage – have been disenfranchised, ignored and overlooked by Government at every step.
Islands minister in the Scottish government, Paul Wheelhouse, said neither Shetland nor any other island council had submitted any request for further powers under Additional Powers Request Regulations introduced last year.
He said: “It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to manage their own budgets and to allocate the total financial resources available to them, including on ferry services, on the basis of local needs and priorities.”
Shetland voted heavily to remain in the UK when during the Scottish independence referendum with 63.7% in favour.
Scotland has a huge amount of oil reserves, with most of it located around Shetland.
The Shetland islands sit over 180 miles north of Scotland and has a population around 23,000.
It is the latest development among the Scottish islands over their disagreements over the direction of their nation and the settlement they have with the central government.
Three years ago Orkney explored if it could loosen ties with Scotland and the UK or even become independent after the nation voted to leave the EU.
Orkney voted heavily to remain in the EU with 63% against Leave’s 37%.
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