Scottish election 2021: Residents offered £50,000 to stay in or move to island communities under SNP proposals

Funding of up to £50,000 will be offered to families and young people to say in or move to island communities under a new SNP initiative to prevent further rural population decline.

The financial support – known as Island Bonds – is part of Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP manifesto which launched on Thursday.

The sum of money will be provided to help people buy homes for the long-term and set up businesses on islands where depopulation is a risk, the Press and Journal revealed.

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Details of how the funding will work in practice have not been confirmed.

The Isle of Rum, Scotland.The Isle of Rum, Scotland.
The Isle of Rum, Scotland.
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Western Isles candidate Alasdair Allan told the Press and Journal: “We already knew they were vulnerable to the negative impacts of Brexit, but the Covid-19 pandemic brought into sharp focus some of the very real challenges those communities face,” he said.

“Anything we can do to reverse the depopulation trend in Scotland and encourage more people to live and work in island communities should be encouraged, especially in the face of a damaging Tory Brexit.”

According to an Office of National Statistics (ONS) study last year, rural and island communities were worst affected by depopulation in Scotland.

Parts of the west of Scotland suffered significant depopulation with Inverclyde seeing the biggest decrease in a decade.

In places such as Argyll and Bute, North Lanarkshire and Angus, more areas were decreasing in population than increasing.

The median age of people – the age at which half the people are older and half younger – in rural and island communities was also increasing at a faster rate than in cities.

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