Island businesses call for support

Tobermory Mull

SCOTLAND’S island businesses need younger local populations, more affordable housing, improved local transport and better broadband if they are to prosper, a new survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland has concluded.

The research, which polled more than 275 firms across Scotland’s islands last month, revealed that 88% of island businesses said they faced challenges their mainland rural competitors did not. Asked to identify their top priorities for action, island business owners listed encouraging young people to stay and young families to move in, improving local transport infrastructure, improving access to superfast broadband, delivering more affordable housing and improving local facilities for tourists.

Ahead of planned legislation aimed at giving island authorities new powers, the FSB has called on politicians and officials to address these issues, claiming healthy local business communities are “vital to Scotland’s 93 inhabited islands’ continued success”.