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UK Islands Offering £50k Welcome Money To Families That Move There

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UK Islands Offering £50k Welcome Money To Families That Move There

A number of Scottish islands are offering families a whopping £50,000 to move there in an attempt to boost the population. 

The first of these ‘golden hellos’ are set to be handed in weeks, following a consultation by the Scottish government. 

The Scottish government has said it intends to offer 100 bonds at a cost of £5 million - with the first set to be given away ‘in the summer’. 

Orkney island in Scotland. Credit: Alamy
Orkney island in Scotland. Credit: Alamy
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Alasdair Allan, the SNP MSP for the Western Isles, told The Times: “Depopulation is one of the biggest threats to our island communities. Anything we can do to reverse depopulation trends should be encouraged. 

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

The new bonds are part of the government’s National Islands Plans that aim to tackle the long-standing problem of depopulation in numerous island communities. 

However, not everyone is sold on the idea - Liberal Democrat Liam McArthur urged the government to use the cash on measures that would benefit the communities as a whole. 

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He told the news outlet: “The proposed islands bond is set to benefit only a small minority. It also has the potential to open up divisions rather than tackle the root causes of depopulation in island communities. 

Stone circle at Callanish, Isle of Lewis. Credit: Alamy
Stone circle at Callanish, Isle of Lewis. Credit: Alamy

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

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

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Rural Affairs and Islands Minister Mairi Gougeon has insisted that isn’t the case and that the new bonds are a good idea for the island communities, calling them ‘a really positive step. It’s not a bribe; it's not a gimmick’.

It's hoped the cash will encourage people to move to the small island communities. Credit: Alamy
It's hoped the cash will encourage people to move to the small island communities. Credit: Alamy

Uisdean Robertson, chairman of the Western Isles council’s transportation and infrastructure committee, said the new scheme had attracted interest from people as far away as South America, but said that what was needed was ‘young people with families’ who have ‘some connection to the island’ they want to live on - not just anyone thinking it would be an easy way to snag £50,000. 

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

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“We have completed our formal consultation which allowed people on our islands to help us shape the islands bond. We are now continuing to engage with island communities. We expect to publish the analysis very soon.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News

Claire Reid
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