Scotland can learn from Manx experience

Delegates at the British Irish Council including second from left Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Delegates at the British Irish Council including second from left Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP

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Scotland’s new First Minister paid her first visit to the Isle of Man as Douglas hosted the 23rd British-Irish Council (BIC) Summit today.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP told a press conference there were many areas where Scotland could learn from the experience of the Isle of Man. ‘We are keen to do that,’ she said.

Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK welcomed the political leaders of the sovereign governments, devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies to the Villa Marina’s Royal Hall for talks on a range of key issues.

Among the other delegates were Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers MP, Northern Ireland’s Minister of Finance and Personnel Simon Hamilton and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Wales’s First Minister Carwyn Jones, Jersey’s Chief Minister Ian Gorst and Guernsey’s Chief Minister Jonathan Le Tocq.

Digital inclusion – ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from information technology – was the main topic under discussion.

The Isle of Man broke new ground by hosting the BIC’s first ‘e-Summit’, with iPads replacing paper on delegates’ desks in the Villa Marina.

Mr Bell said: ‘It was a pleasure for me to welcome First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to the BIC family and to gain a personal insight into her plans for the future of Scotland.’

Minister for Policy and Reform Chris Robertshaw said: ‘The Isle of Man is leading the BIC’s work group on digital inclusion, so it was fitting that we became the first nation to host a BIC e-summit.

‘The use of digital technology continues to make a vital contribution to our national priorities of growing the economy, rebalancing the budget and protecting vulnerable people.’

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