Standard of living more costly in rural Scotland
30th November 2016
The level of income required to afford a socially acceptable standard of living and to participate in society is ten to thirty per cent more expensive in remote rural Scotland than elsewhere in the UK.
The report on Minimum Income Standard for Remote Rural Scotland 2016, published today (Wednesday 30 November), was commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Scottish Enterprise (SE), the Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum (RIHAF) and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
It shows the gap between rural and urban areas has reduced slightly, from between ten and forty per cent, since the previous report in 2013.
Falling energy costs have to some extent eased the burden recently. In the longer term, developments such as the extension of broadband access and new delivery networks have the potential to change the way people live and the costs they incur.
The new study highlights the importance of collaboration between public sector organisations and lists a number of important issues, such as heating and transport costs, at which public sector intervention could be targeted to useful effect.
Capitalising on broadband roll-out to create more high-paying jobs can potentially help make rural communities more attractive places to live and work, and boost their long-term resilience.
Ensuring the workforce has adequate access to training and development opportunities and wider support services such as childcare can also help.
Fergus Ewing Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity said: "I welcome this latest Minimum Income Standard Report and note the positive impact that lower diesel and petrol prices has had on those who have to travel long distances. The Scottish Government is already doing much to support rural communities through transport initiatives and Rural Fuel Poverty measures, and we will continue to work with rural communities to identify the best solutions to rural challenges."
Alastair Nicolson, head of planning and partnerships at HIE, said: "That the cost of living is higher in remote rural Scotland will be no surprise to the people who live in these communities. A great deal of public policy is already targeted at reducing that disparity to ensure equality of opportunities in all parts of the country. The roll out of fibre broadband well beyond where the market would reach is one recent example of action in this area.
"This report does however show that a number of factors still conspire to make the cost of living at a socially acceptable standard more expensive in more remote areas, particularly small islands. While a number of interventions being progressed currently will make an impact, further work is required from the public sector to mitigate the excessive costs associated with living in these parts of the country. We will be working with the Scottish Government and other public sector partners to ensure the full implications from this research are understood and used to help inform planning and priorities across a range of policy areas."
Aerospace and defence sector opportunities in the region highlighted at event Businesses in the Highlands and Islands are being invited to a free workshop to find out how the region can benefit from opportunities in the aerospace, defence, security and space industries. It will be held in at An Lòchran, Inverness Campus on Tuesday 26 September 2017 The event is organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and ADS Scotland which is the Scottish branch of the aerospace, defence, security and space industry trade organisation, ADS.
Over 250 community leaders from across Scotland will meet in Aviemore today and tomorrow (21-22 September) at a national conference to look at the impact and future role of community-led development on Scotland's social and economic fortunes. The event, hosted by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and supported by the Scottish Government, brings together community groups, academia and experts to discuss the vital contribution communities make to Scotland and consider how to support their continuing and increasing ambitions.
Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has just announced over £660K of funding for 13 new projects aiming to develop innovative control systems for wave energy converters. This initiative brings together control systems specialists from mature sectors such as aerospace and oil and gas, to work with Scottish technology developers in addressing the challenges of controlling and integrating Wave Energy Converter (WEC) systems and their components.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise is offering its clients across the region support to protect themselves from cyber attacks, by launching the Cyber Strong business project. Co-inciding with Digital Leaders Cyber Resilience Week (11-15 September 2017), the agency is launching a programme to help local businesses and social enterprises achieve national Cyber Essentials accreditation.
Food and drink businesses looking to grow through innovation are encouraged to register for a free workshop which takes place in Inverness on 31 August. The event will focus on the new ‘Make Innovation Happen' service which provides a single access point for all innovation support to the Scottish food and drink industry.
Twenty-three Scottish companies are travelling to Norway this week to highlight the country's expertise at the world's largest aquaculture technology exhibition. Aqua Nor 2017 gets under way in Trondheim on Tuesday (15 August 2017), and runs until Friday (18 August 2017).
The successful North Coast 500 tourist route will need strong co-ordinated support from the public sector to ensure its long term sustainability. Experiences of the initiative should also be shared with groups around the country looking to develop similar projects.
The North Coast 500 (NC500) tourist route, launched in 2015, has had a positive impact on both visitor numbers and business trade. This is according to a new report commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Short film highlighting infrastructure investments made across the Highlands and Islands and the impacts these investments are having across the energy sector..
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has appointed a new chief executive. Charlotte Wright, who is currently the agency's Director of Business and Sector Development, has held the role of Interim Chief Executive since the end of August last year.
[Printer Friendly Version]