Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon.
By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie has urged solutions to be brought forward immediately for the A83 Rest and Be Thankful given the levels of depopulation facing Argyll & Bute.
During an exchange within the Scottish Parliament this week, the Dumbarton constituency MSP, raised the issue of depopulation with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon.
Argyll and Bute is the second largest local authority by area in Scotland yet it is suffering from significant depopulation. While the number of people residing in the whole of Scotland increased, it fell in Argyll and Bute, most notably by 34 percent in the 25 to 44 age group.
Jackie Baillie said: “This is a huge concern that we appear to be discouraging people from staying in this beautiful part of the country.
“I have no doubt that the ongoing problems with the A83 and the Scottish Government’s lack of action to fix these issues is a key factor.
“The lack of key transport infrastructure is driving people away, most notably those who would be contributing significantly to the local economy.
“There have been a multitude of conversations over many years about the Rest and Be Thankful yet we are still waiting for something to happen and the Scottish Government have been slow to act to identify a medium and long term solution.
“The people who stay and work in the area desperately need a timeline so they know when these problems will be fixed.
“Speaking of task forces and action plans is all well and good but when are any plans going to come out of these discussions. They are rumbling on while the people of Argyll and Bute continue to suffer.”