Scots to receive £50,000 grants if they move to remote Scottish islands

Nicola Sturgeon’s party is proposing a grant of £50k to young adults and families willing to relocate to remote islands as threats of rural depopulation loom.

Scots to receive £50,000 grants if they move to remote Scottish islands
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The Scottish government is budgeting £5 million to address population decline in some of Scotland’s tight-knit communities.

The plan which is expected to be rolled out within the course of five years would see 100 of such resettlement bonds on offer.

Under the 'Island Bonds' scheme, young adults and families would receive £50,000 to buy homes and set up businesses on the remote islands of Shetland, Orkney and 91 others which have seen drastic population decline over the decades.

Current residents would be entitled to this grant as well provided they commit to remain on the island.

Rural depopulation concerns

There have been growing concerns over the absence of employment opportunities on Scotland’s inhabited islands where populations range from a little above 20,000 to just one. Many fear this situation is driving young locals to the mainland.

The ruling SNP’s Western Isles candidate Alasdair Allan 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.
Nicola Sturgeon will unveil the plan later on Thursday Getty Images

Scottish visa

In recent months, there have been suggestions for a special Scottish visa which could help address population decline north of the border.

Scottish government advisers say a post-Brexit visa for Scotland could encourage migrants to move to rural parts of the country struggling with depopulation.

Earlier this year, it was recommended that the UK government consider relaxing conditions on its post-Brexit skilled worker visa so employers in Scotland could have their own ‘shortage occupation’ list.

Ms Sturgeon will set out more details of the bond scheme later on Thursday when she unveils the SNP’s manifesto.