As part of the Levelling Up Agenda, Michael Gove today announced an Islands Forum as part of the Levelling Up agenda.
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?”
In responding, Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, 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.”
Speaking afterwards, Mr Seely said: “I am very grateful to Michael Gove for agreeing, accepting and adopting my suggestion on a national forum for UK islands. This will enable the Island, working with other islands, to have a collective voice at the heart of Government.
"Those goals must be around education, training and skills, high-quality jobs, improvement to towns, transport as well as the protection of the landscape and seascape for some of the most precious parts of the United Kingdom.
“I want to thank and pay tribute to the work by David Pugh on this as well.
“Thus far, from the Levelling Up plans, we know that the Island will be an Education Investment Area, which will help to recruit more good teachers - and retain them - and drive up standards, helping every child on the Island to have the promise of a better future. Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi will say more in the coming weeks.
"We have already got the £5.8 million Levelling Up bid money to help East Cowes after my intervention to make sure that the Island was included in Round One as a priority.”