Strategy to grow Argyll and Bute population

Councillors have approved a draft Economic Development Strategy for Argyll and Bute that focuses on infrastructure, attracting new residents and supporting key sectors such as tourism and marine industry.

The Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee last week approved the draft Argyll and Bute Economic Development Strategy and associated Action Plan.

The strategy is a key document that aims to help deliver the vision of the Argyll and Bute Outcome Improvement Plan 2013–2023, which has been agreed with the Scottish Government. That improvement plan is based on the principle that “Argyll and Bute’s economic success is based on a growing population.”

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Three key priorities, which include a number of underlying aims and actions, have been identified as part of the strategy. They are: Critical economic infrastructure; place and people; and smart growth.

Councillor Aileen Morton, policy lead for economic development, said: “With so many changes in the global, national and local economy, it is important that we have a strategy that lays out our plan for securing a bright and secure future for Argyll and Bute. We want people and businesses to thrive here, and the priorities set out in the draft Economic Development Strategy all focus to a large extent on that goal.

“Creating better places and attracting people to live, work, visit and invest in Argyll and Bute is vital to support the growth of the local economy.”

The draft strategy outlines the need to attract external funding to help make Argyll and Bute’s towns investor-ready and attractive as places to live in and do business.

While, the smart growth element of the strategy focuses on supporting the growth of our priority sectors including tourism, food and drink, engineering, defence and marine industries through achieving improved productivity and encouraging innovation.

The strategy is closely aligned to the council’s Rural Growth Deal proposal that was informed by extensive research and public consultation together with the economic priorities of both the Scottish and UK Governments.

More detail on each of these priorities and the wider strategy is available online at

The draft strategy is subject to scrutiny by the Community Planning Partnership Management Committee and will go before a future meeting of the full council for approval.