I presented a petition on the unique impact COVID-19 on our island communities. Islands such as the Isle of Arran and the Isle of Cumbrae, face much greater challenges to their economic sustainability than mainland communities.
As well as having a higher number of older people , these economies are fragile and need particular and additional support to survive this crisis. Covid19 has dealt a double economic whammy to our islands which are largely reliant on tourism. Covid19 has seen visitor numbers collapse and our islands will emerge more slowly from lockdown as social distancing measures on our ferries to and from the islands mean visitor numbers will be significantly restricted in order to safeguard public health.
The challenges faced by businesses on mainland communities will be magnified on our islands, and could result in catastrophic job losses. For example, on Arran, significant employers such as the world-class Auchrannie resort, which employs 171 people from a total island population of 4,600, is in a genuine fight for survival.
Ultimately more support is needed from the UK Government to ensure the sustainability of our islands and prevent depopulation. I am urging the UK Government to bring forward special measures to support our island economies at this critical time and ensure furlough extension specifically for our islands.
You can watch my contribution below.