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Nolan: Invest in broadband and housing to tackle Highland depopulation

March 15, 2021 4:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Responding to the Scottish Government's Ministerial Population Taskforce's National Population Strategy, Molly Nolan, Spokesperson for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform and candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross said:

"Scotland faces a number of demographic challenges, particularly in the Highlands. Poor access to the critical infrastructure that people and businesses need to thrive like fast broadband and accessible housing makes life harder for those who want to stay.

"The pandemic made it abundantly clear that a fast and accessible internet connection is crucial for those living in the Highlands. It can no longer be seen as something that's just nice to have.

"The SNP's failed promises on rural broadband and housebuilding have forced many young highlanders to leave our homes, our birthplaces, the land we love just because it is impossible for many to do what is normal in the central areas. This is not acceptable in this day and age.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out concrete plans to make the Highlands a vibrant place to live and work. We will prioritise investment through catch up zones to ensure that everyone has access to the digital services they need to prosper. We will also expand the Scottish Land Fund to facilitate further community ownership across Scotland, and institute a First Time Builders Fund to support population growth in rural areas that lack housing stock."