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October 18th 2022

Report warning of housing shortages in Highlands and Islands

A new survey has found that housing shortages are a major problem for people living in the Highlands and Islands.

The IPSOS research for Highlands and Islands Enterprise also revealed that nearly half of all young people in the region plan to move away in the next five years.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) said there are not enough affordable houses to rent or buy.

Salmon Scotland, the trade body for Scotland's farm-raised salmon sector which employs 1,000 local workers and supports 670 suppliers in the region, is campaigning for more of the money raised through farm licences to be invested in rural housing.

While the salmon sector is already one of the largest private sector employers in many rural parts of north and west Scotland, the shortage of housing is preventing key vacancies from being filled and acting as a drag on the local economies.

Scotland's cluttered licensing regime and planned rent hikes means that more than £20million per year is soon expected to be paid by salmon farmers to various regulators and quangos.

Crown Estate Scotland revenues are currently handed to the Scottish Government and redistributed across the country, however Salmon Scotland believes that a greater share of aquaculture contributions should be ringfenced for housing in coastal communities.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

"This research confirms that the shortage of housing is one of the biggest problems facing the Highlands and Islands, with a growing risk of depopulation.

"We are passionate about supporting the local economy and making rural communities even more attractive places to live and work.

"That's why we believe our neighbours - the people who live closest to our farms - should be the ones who benefit the most from the success of Scotland's world-renowned salmon sector.

"Rather than millions of pounds going to Edinburgh, seabed rents paid to the Crown Estate should be returned to benefit our coastal communities so that we can help address this housing crisis."