MSP calls for Argyll and Bute population summit

Argyll and Bute MSP Michael Russell has called for the local council to hold a summit to address the causes of population decline in the area.

Mr Russell was speaking after figures from the 2011 census were revealed, showing that the population of Argyll and Bute s islands declined by 4.93 per cent between 2001 and 2011, from 15,889 people to 15,105. On Bute the decline was more than twice as steep, with a 10.1 per cent fall in the island s population during the period – from 7,228 people in 2001 to 6,498 ten years later. Mr Russell said: All the figures from the census for Argyll & Bute show a declining population across the area – on the islands and on the mainland and although some other islands are losing population too – most notably the southern part of the western isles – our area of Argyll and Bute is losing population faster than any other local authority area.

That decline must be halted.

I have raised the issue of rural and island renewal with the council on many occasions since I became MSP in 2011 and these statistics confirm once again that this is the most urgent problem they have to address.

I am therefore asking the council to convene a population summit in the autumn with all interested parties including government, HIE, the NHS, Transport Scotland, local communities and the private sector in order to develop a clear and coherent plan that can reverse this decline.

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