Scottish islands are offering £50k in welcome money to families that move there

Scottish islands are offering £50k in welcome money to families that move there
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Some Scottish islands are offering £50,000 in welcome money to families that move there in an attempt to boost the population.

The first of the “golden hellos” are slated to be handed out in weeks after a consultation by the Scottish government.

The Scottish government said that it intends to offer 100 bonds costing £5 million, with the first set to be given away “in the summer.”

“[We are] introducing a new islands bond initiative to help support more people to stay or move to some of our most vulnerable communities,” the government stated.

They also said that they “completed” their “formal consultation,” which allows people on the islands to help cultivate “the islands’ bond.”

“We are now continuing to engage with island communities. We expect to publish the analysis very soon.”

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Speaking with The Times, Alasdair Allan, the SNP MSP for the Western Isles, said that “depopulation” is one of the largest threats to their “island communities.”

“Anything we can do to reverse depopulation trends should be encouraged,” he told the outlet.

“These bonds will support people to buy homes, start businesses, and otherwise make their lives here for the long-term.”

These new bonds are part of the government’s National Islands Plans, which aim to manage the long-standing problem of depopulation in various island communities.

Despite this, not everyone is convinced with the idea.

Liam McArthur, a Liberal Democrat, believes that this would only benefit “a small minority” and that the government should use the funds on things that would benefit the communities overall.

“Poor transport connections, non-existent broadband, and unaffordable housing are just some of the factors holding back economic prosperity,” McArthur told the outlet.

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

Rural Affairs and Islands Minister Mairi Gougeon insisted that the new bonds are a great idea for the island communities and called them “a really positive step” and that it’s not a “bribe” or “gimmick.”

Uisdean Robertson, the chairman of the Western Isles council’s transportation and infrastructure committee, noted that this new plan garnered interest from people even as far as South America.

He also said that what was needed was “young people with families” who have some sort of “connection to the island” they want to live on - not just anyone believing it’s an easy way to obtain £50,000.

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