Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has today (Thursday) called for the Scottish Government to "ring-fence" funding allocated to the Islands Bond "gimmick" to be invested in broadband or transport connectivity instead.
During an exchange with the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, Mr McArthur said that, rather than "bribing individuals", investing in making island communities more resilient was the best way of attracting and retaining people in our islands.
The Scottish Government has made a commitment to developing an Islands Bond, offering 100 bonds of up to £50,000 to young people and families to stay in or to move to islands currently threatened by depopulation.
Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said:
"The 'Islands Bond' promised by the government bears all the hallmarks of an election stunt. On a practical level, it also risks opening up divisions within island communities.
"Investing to make those communities more resilient, through improved digital and transport connections, would be a far more effective way of attracting and retaining people in our islands.
"Rather than using up valuable resources on this gimmick, Ministers should instead commit to ring-fencing this money for investments that benefit island communities as a whole, such as improved broadband or new ferries. These are the things that support all those living, working and studying in our islands and represent a better use of public funds."