Rachel Fieldhouse

Real Estate

Dreaming of greener pastures? You could be paid to move to the Scottish countryside

Dreaming of greener pastures? You could be paid to move to the Scottish countryside

 If you’ve ever wanted an excuse to start afresh in a remote area on the other side of the world, you could be in luck - and you could even be paid to do it.

In a bid to boost the populations of Orkney and the Isle of Skye, the Scottish government has been handing out up to £50,000 ($88,000 or $NZ 97 thousand) to people who are willing to make the move to the countryside.

According to its mission statement, the Island Bond fund was created to support island residents to stay in their community and encourage others to move there, with financial support totalling £5 million ($AU 8.77 or 9.66 million NZ) split between 100 households.

“We launched the Islands Bond consultation on 2 August 2021, providing an opportunity for our island residents in particular to identify the key challenges that a bond may be able to respond to.”

As well as boosting local populations, it’s also hoped that the scheme encourages new residents to start new businesses in the region, giving the local economy a boost.

However, local residents and councillors on Orkney have shared their reservations about the scheme, including Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur.

“Rather than offering bribes to individuals, which could prove divisive, Scottish Ministers should commit to investing in projects that benefit whole island communities such as new ferries or faster broadband,” he wrote on Twitter.

“The proposed islands bond is set to benefit only a small minority,” he explained, per Tyla.com.

“It also has the potential to open up divisions rather than tackle the root causes of depopulation in island communities.”

Despite reservations, the program has already been well-received, with Tyla.com reporting that applications have come from as far away as South America.

To find out more about the scheme, head to the Rural and Islands Housing Fund (RIHF) website here.

Image: Getty Images

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