British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday pledged multi-million pounds of financial support to Scotland as he arrived in the region on the one-year anniversary of taking office in Downing Street.
Offering 50 million pounds (63.6 million U.S. dollars) to boost the support economic development in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles off Scotland's mainland coast, Johnson pledged further support for Scottish communities. Downing Street said projects set to be supported by a growth deal for the Scottish islands could include developing space technology and researching new renewable energy systems. The last six months have shown exactly why the historic bond that tied the four parts of the country together was so important, said Johnson. But the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) said the visit showed Johnson was in a panic about rising support for Scottish independence. There were no plans during the visit for Johnson to meet Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the SNP, local media reported. Recent opinion polls have shown Scotland remains equally divided on independence. In the 2014 referendum, people in Scotland backed remaining as part of Britain. Two years later, they supported Britain remaining as part of the European Union.