We have a lower than average household income in this area and the highest level of fuel poverty. It costs a lot to live here. As well as supporting existing employment, we need to develop high quality, high paid jobs in emerging industries like the renewable sectors.
We need to build on our traditional strengths: engineering, farming, fishing and enterprise, and we need to move from a low wage economy, to one which not only retains our young folk but attracts people in.
We definitely need better connectivity! – better roads and public transport, broadband and mobile phone coverage, to make connections within the Highlands and Islands, within Scotland and from Scotland to the rest of the world. Broadband is not a luxury, the UN say it’s a basic human right. We need a high quality, universal service.
We want our government to encourage entrepreneurial spirit and business growth to increase employment. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. Moving towards a living wage will be essential to improving our community, but will prove challenging to some of our businesses and we need both governments to support them in making the change.
This would have been readily achievable with independence. We could have used the tax system to reward good employers. We could have given tourism based industries a VAT reduction like they do in Ireland. It’s a challenge without it, but a strong SNP team working together will give our region a strong voice when policy decisions are being made.