Development of the Islands Bond

Closed 25 Oct 2021

Opened 2 Aug 2021

Feedback updated 10 Feb 2023

We asked

We sought views on the proposed Islands Bond scheme, a £5 million fund, providing up to £50,000 each for up to 100 households, by providing financial support for island residents to remain in their community, or to encourage people to move there. The consultation opened on 2 August 2021 and closed on 25 October 2021. 

You said

The consultation received 1661 responses. 42% of respondents lived or were based on islands and 58% were not.  

Whilst consultation respondents were fairly evenly split between those in favour and those opposed to the Bond, those in favour were largely non-islanders. 

The focus on the importance of addressing population decline, and the commitment to work with communities to develop local solutions, were welcomed by islanders. However, respondents to the consultation and through engagement have been unequivocal - the Bond, as originally intended in the 2021/22 Programme for Government, is not what communities need. 

We did

We published the responses to the consultation, where permission has been given to do this, on Citizen Space.  

We commissioned an independent research company to carry out analysis of the consultation responses and we published the analysis report on the Scottish Government website. 

We also published an official Scottish Government response to the consultation.  

The response sets out the decision that was taken as a result of the consultation and in person workshop feedback. The key findings from the analysis of the consultation suggested that island communities do not support the proposed Islands Bond and as a direct result of that feedback, the scheme will not be taken forward.  

Recognising this, instead of delivering the Islands Bond, we will support the delivery of interventions through an action plan to address depopulation. We will utilise the information and learning gathered through the consultation and engagement to shape these, and the development of the action plan. 

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


Population decline is a real threat to the sustainability of many, although not all, of Scotland’s island communities. During the consultation for the National Islands Plan, depopulation was the top priority issue identified by respondents.

That is why, through the National Islands Plan, we have committed to address population decline and ensure a healthy, balanced population profile across our islands. This commitment is underpinned by a range of actions including, but not limited to:

  • Identify islands where population decline is becoming a critical issue in order to ensure that these islands have their needs addressed
  • Work with young islanders to identify actions to encourage them to stay on or return to islands
  • Ensure that policies aim to retain and attract Gaelic speakers to live and work in Gaelic speaking communities

Within the SNP Manifesto for the 2021 election, a commitment was made to developing the Islands Bond - offering 100 bonds of up to £50,000 to young people and families to stay in or to move to islands currently threatened by depopulation.

Providing support in the form of capital funding through an Islands Bond will encourage both population retention and growth in island communities, and stimulate local economies through supporting investment in our islands.

This consultation seeks views on the Scottish Government's commitment to deliver an Islands Bond.

The Scottish Government intends to launch the Islands Bond in 2022.

Why your views matter

The Scottish Government has committed to developing and implementing an Islands Bond to support population retention and growth in island communities.

Engagement with our island communities and stakeholders will be crucial to developing an Islands Bond that will deliver a meaningful, sustainable intervention reflecting island communities' aspirations and needs. 

It is important that views and suggestions are captured prior to the development of the Islands Bond in order to meet our responsibility under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 to carry out a comprehensive Island Communities Impact Assessment for this new policy.

Read the consultation paper. 

A Gaelic version of the consultation paper is available in the link at the bottom of the page.

What happens next

This public consultation is part of a wider engagement exercise with local authorities, communities and other key island stakeholders through a series of meetings and online focus groups planned ahead of launching the Islands Bond in 2022.

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.


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