Highlands & Islands

Cost of living 'higher' in remote rural areas of Scotland

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People in remote rural Scotland need up to 30% more income than the rest of the UK to have "a socially acceptable standard of living," says a new report.

Its authors suggested better broadband could help create higher-paid jobs.

They have also highlighted the need for adequate provision of training and childcare to help support workers.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which was involved in commissioning the study, is supporting work to offer superfast broadband in rural areas.

The report, Minimum Income Standard for Remote Rural Scotland 2016, has suggested that the level of income required to afford a socially acceptable standard of living and "to participate in society" is 10 to 30% more expensive in remote rural Scotland.

'Best solutions'

However, it has also suggested falling energy costs have "to some extent" eased "the burden" on the cost of living for people living in remote rural areas.

Fergus Ewing, Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, said: "I welcome this latest Minimum Income Standard Report and note the positive impact that lower diesel and petrol prices has had on those who have to travel long distances.

"The Scottish government is already doing much to support rural communities through transport initiatives and Rural Fuel Poverty measures, and we will continue to work with rural communities to identify the best solutions to rural challenges."

The report was commissioned by HIE, Scottish Enterprise, the Rural and Islands Housing Association Forum and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations.

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