Islands Bond will fail to make island communities more resilient, says McArthur

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has reiterated local concerns over the proposed Islands Bond and warned it will fail to make island communities more resilient.

During an exchange with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mr McArthur called on the government to consider using this funding to support measures that would benefit whole island communities. 

Mr McArthur used the example of "introducing a third aircraft on Orkney’s internal routes" which he argued "would undoubtedly help attract and retain population not just on one island but across the outer north isles."

The Scottish Government has made a commitment to developing an Islands Bond, offering 100 bonds of up to £50,000 to families to stay in or to move to islands currently threatened by depopulation.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"The proposed Islands Bond is set to benefit only a small minority.  It also has the potential to open up divisions, rather tackle the root causes of depopulation in island communities.

"Poor transport connections, non-existent broadband and unaffordable housing are just some of the factors holding back the economic prosperity of so many of our islands.

"Rather than offering bribes to individuals, Scottish Ministers should instead commit to investing in projects that benefit island communities as a whole.

"That is what islanders themselves are saying.  It remains to be seen if Ministers are prepared to listen and act."

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