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Ever wanted to pack up and move away from the hustle and bustle of post-pandemic life? Well, now’s your chance.
Willing home-movers can now get paid up to £50,000 to relocate to an island in Scotland, thanks to the Scottish government’s scheme which aims to reduce depopulation in the remote areas of Orkney and the Isle of Skye.
The hefty monetary incentive is set to be offered to up to 100 families and young people until 2026, with reports suggesting that wannabe Scottish residents have applied from as far afield as South America.
The National Islands Plan, set up by government officials in the country in 2021, attempts to increase the number of residents on the islands, which are deemed as some of the most beautiful places in the world.
The £5 million Islands Bond fund plan stated: “The Scottish Government committed to developing a £5 million Islands Bond fund, providing up to £50,000 each for up to 100 households by 2026, by providing financial support for island residents to remain in their community, or to encourage people to move there.
“We launched the Islands Bond consultation on 2 August 2021, providing an opportunity for our island residents in particular to identify the key challenges that a bond may be able to respond to.”
Despite the dreamy location and cash incentive appearing to sound appealing to outsiders, pre-existing islanders and councillors have their reservations about the plans.
Liam McArthur, the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Orkney, wrote on Twitter: “Rather than offering bribes to individuals, which could prove divisive, Scottish Ministers should commit to investing in projects that benefit whole island communities such as new ferries or faster broadband.”
“The proposed islands bond is set to benefit only a small minority,” he explained.
“It also has the potential to open up divisions rather than tackle the root causes of depopulation in island communities.”
Instead, Liam has highlighted just some of the factors which may be contributing to the depopulation in these areas, including a lack of good transport links and infrastructure.
“Poor transport connections, non-existent broadband and unaffordable housing are just some of the factors holding back economic prosperity.”
To apply for the scheme, visit the Rural Housing Fund and Islands Housing Fund on the Scottish Government website here