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Community / Views wanted on ‘islands bond’

The scheme will offer cash to support people to stay on, or move to, islands which are under threat from depopulation

Papa Stour. Photo: Shetland News

A CONSULTATION on plans to offer money to people to stay on or move to islands threatened by depopulation has now opened.

The £5 million islands bond was part of the SNP’s manifesto during the May Scottish Parliament election.

Payments of up to £50,000 will be made to young people and families to stay in or move to islands currently threatened by depopulation.

Bonds issued will support people to buy, build or renovate homes, start businesses and otherwise make their lives for the long-term in island communities.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks.

Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “The Islands Bond will help us to deliver on some of the commitments from the National Islands Plan.

“It’s a way for us to address some of the key financial barriers for people who want to live on our islands.

“Each of our islands are unique and this consultation will help us understand some of the population challenges across our islands and make sure that we can properly address them.

“It will also provide information to enable us to set up a relocation support or advisory service and make the move for people as smooth as possible.

“I’d encourage people across Scotland, especially those on our islands, to provide a response to this consultation and make sure their voices are heard to help shape the bond.”

The Scottish Government said it will continue to engage with local authorities and island communities as plans develop.

The scheme is set to launch in 2022 and it could offer 100 bonds of up to £50,000.