Salmon Scotland calls for more investment in rural housing

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THE trade group Salmon Scotland is calling for £10 million-a-year in licence fees paid to Crown Estate Scotland to be reinvested in affordable housing to tackle the growing property crisis in rural communities.

The demand comes after the Highland Council warned that parts of the region are being “drained” of people.

Salmon Scotland points out that the fish its members produce adds more than £220 million a year to the north west Highlands’ economy, directly supporting around 1,000 local jobs and hundreds of suppliers in the region.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “The Scottish salmon sector employs thousands of people in our most fragile coastal communities.

“The well-paid, year-round jobs we provide are the lifeblood of Highland and island communities. If we were to disappear, so would the jobs, the local schools, the shops, everything that makes island life liveable.

He adds: “One of the greatest risks to this way of life is the lack of affordable housing, which is why we’ve been calling on the Scottish Government to ringfence around £10 million of the rent which Crown Estate Scotland receives from salmon farmers to provide housing that enables local working age people to live and work in the town and villages they grew up in.”

Footnote: Fresh Scottish salmon accounts for more than £500 million worth of fish sales across the UK retail market annually and the sector adds more than £760 million a year to the economy. It also represents 48% of the overall UK fish market.

‘A spokesperson for Crown Estate Scotland commented’

“The seabed is a shared, public space and, like many multi-national businesses, salmon farmers pay to use it for their commercial purposes. Crown Estate Scotland then passes profits to the Scottish Government and Ministers decide how that money is used. Since 2017, around £40m of Crown Estate Scotland profits have been passed by Scottish Government to coastal local authorities to support community-led initiatives, economic regeneration and job creation, flood protection, environmental projects, and more. This funding is in addition to money distributed directly by Crown Estate Scotland to people and communities to help with a range of projects and initiatives, which in the past three years has included support for affordable rented housing for older people in Orkney, low-cost housing for health & social care workers in Arran, and the development of six fuel-efficient affordable homes in Skye.”

 

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