Argyll population decline concerns
Argyll and Bute Council’s leader wants to involve cabinet ministers in the battle against the area’s declining population.
Councillor Aileen Morton has sent a letter to finance secretary Derek Mackay and communities secretary Aileen Campbell, along with the other eight council leaders whose areas are hit by depopulation.
The council leader in neighbouring West Dunbartonshire has also signed the letter, along with the leaders of Inverclyde, Western Isles, Dumfries and Galloway and all three Ayrshire authorities.
Councillor Morton said: ‘We outlined in our letter the various impacts arising from projected population changes which risk undermining the sustainability of our communities, as well as the ability of the western Scottish region to deliver inclusive economic growth.
‘These include barriers to business sustainability, investment and growth due to scarcity of labour and skills, risks to specific key sectors like agriculture, aquaculture, tourism and food and drink and threats to public services resulting from reduced funding due to declining population – creating a vicious cycle from which we cannot escape.’
Argyll and Bute is projected to lose two per cent of its households by 2041 – despite the fact its population increased over the year to the end of June 2016.
Councillor Morton added: ‘We made it clear that we acknowledge the substantial investment in hand or planned across Scotland through the Growth Deals programme, but that this approach alone will not address the scale of challenge facing the west coast.
‘We have asked to meet urgently with the two cabinet secretaries to explore a partnership approach to tackling population growth on the West Coast.’