The National Park’s population is both ageing and declining and its changing demographic is influenced by multiple factors. Some areas of the National Park experience rural disadvantage in terms of their seasonal economy, limited access to public services, public transport and employment opportunities.
The Scottish population as a whole is an ageing one, however within the Park it is the loss of population within the economically active age groups that is creating an increasingly imbalanced age profile. We need to make focused efforts to ensure there are more opportunities for younger people and those of working age, to remain and move into the National Park. This includes supporting access to training and jobs. Employment forecasts show future demand for jobs, arising mainly from people leaving the job market due to retirement or other reasons and a supply of skills is needed to enable businesses in the Park to remain sustainable and grow.
We also need more homes in the National Park to sustain and support our rural economy, as well as meeting communities’ housing needs. The popularity of the area as a place to live, particularly the high demand for commuting, retirement and second/or holiday homes, makes it one of the most expensive areas in Scotland to purchase a home.
With around 70% of the houses sold being purchased by people from outside the National Park, access to housing is extremely difficult for many local people, younger households and those not able to afford full market value for a home. While our Local Development Plan identifies that an increase in housing in the Park is required to address this, there needs to be a continued focus on funding for rural housing and support for infrastructure costs which are higher within the rural areas.
The priorities for Outcome 12 are outlined below:
Priority 12.1 – Skills and Training
Identifying and addressing skills and training needs, and provision of skills development support(working collaboratively with industry associations, training providers and employers including delivery of the Developing Young Workforce agenda).