Holyrood debate on Argyll and Bute depopulation

The debating chamber at the Scottish Parliament, where Argyll and Bute's declining population was discussed on January 22, 2015.
The debating chamber at the Scottish Parliament, where Argyll and Bute's declining population was discussed on January 22, 2015.

The alarming decline in Argyll and Bute’s population will be debated in the Scottish Parliament next week.

Conservative Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor has secured confirmation that his ‘member’s debate’ on the subject will take place in the Holyrood chamber at 12.30pm on Thursday, January 22.

Mr McGrigor’s motion on the subject has attracted support from 18 MSPs of all persuasions, including constituency MSP Michael Russell and four of six other regional MSPs for the Highlands and Islands.

According to census figures, Argyll and Bute’s population fell by 3.4 per cent between 2001 and 2011 - though the decline on Bute was almost three times that, at 10.1 per cent.

Those figures led to a depopulation ‘summit’ being held in Dunoon in October.

Mr McGrigor said: “I thank those fellow MSPs from across the political spectrum who have supported my motion, allowing it to be debated in Parliament next week. I am confident many MSPs representing our area will want to speak in what I hope will be a positive and constructive debate.

“It is right that our Parliament is able to discuss what is one of the very biggest challenges facing Argyll and Bute and seek to take forward some of the issues that were voiced at last year’s depopulation summit.

“There are a number of themes I will explore next week, especially in relation to the area’s infrastructure as this is so fundamental to future economic expansion.”