A FUND developed to mitigate the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on Scotland’s islands is to receive a £1 million boost.

The Cost Crisis Emergency Fund, provided by the Scottish Government, will see the country’s six island councils handed a share of the cash to be disseminated how they see fit.

The fund, formed in December of last year and already given £1.4 million of Government cash, has been used to support food banks and breakfast clubs.

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Local government minister Joe FitzPatrick said the issues faced by islanders – including colder climates, higher fuel costs and reduced consumer choice – are often tougher than those on the mainland and have been further exacerbated by the increased cost of living.

“No-one in Scotland has been shielded from the cost-of-living crisis – which has been exacerbated by the inflationary crisis caused by UK Government actions,” he said.

“Islanders often face even greater challenges, due to the unique circumstances of island life.

“Island council leaders have seen the cost-of-living crisis become more entrenched in their communities.

“As minister responsible for local government, I am determined to step up and help those who need it the most even when the UK Government is turning its back on people.

“We have listened to island local authorities and are providing this £1 million of additional funding to help them target support where they have the most concerns.”

Analysis from Shetland Islands Council found fuel poverty could hit as much as 96% of residents, with islanders having to earn a salary of £104,000 to avoid struggling to heat their homes.

Councillor Maureen Chalmers, the community wellbeing spokeswoman at local authority body Cosla, said: “The cost-of-living crisis continues to have a disproportionate impact on our island communities, with some areas facing costs up to 65% higher than on the mainland.

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“This funding will allow for the continuation of past measures made possible by the fund such as electricity vouchers, provision of meals and supporting local food initiatives.

“We appreciate the joint work which has taken place between Scottish and local government to ensure this funding is available to our most vulnerable islands communities before the winter.”