A lack of job opportunities is the main reason people decide to leave the Bute and Cowal area, according to a survey carried out in Rothesay on Friday.
That view - which is likely to come as a surprise to few - was confirmed at a workshop in the Pavilion aimed at finding ways to reverse the alarming decline in Bute’s population.
Almost two out of three people at Friday’s event - 64 per cent, to be exact - said they felt a lack of employment opportunities was the main contributing factor to people’s decision to leave the wider Bute and Cowal area and live elsewhere.
Twenty-one per cent said a lack of infrastructure was the main obstacle to people continuing to live in the area, while nine per cent - three people - cited a lack of access to services as the major drawback.
The electronic vote followed an hour of discussions on issues such as infrastructure, the economy, education, health, community strength and opportunities for young people.
Though the questions in the vote all referred to ‘Bute and Cowal’, 78 per cent of those attending said they lived on Bute, suggesting most of those taking part had the island alone uppermost in their minds.
Thirty-five members of the public attended the event, which was organised in the wake of figures from the most recent UK census which show that Bute’s population fell by ten per cent - from 7,228 people to 6,498 - between 2001 and 2011.
The Rothesay session was the first in a series of similar events being held by the Argyll and Bute Community Planning Partnership over the next few weeks in communities across the Argyll and Bute area, where the population fell by more than three thousand in the same ten-year period.