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Western Isles Conservative candidate Mr Gavin Berkenheger has criticised the SNPs record on house building in the islands these past 14 years and sees it as playing a major role in  declining populations throughout the Outer Hebrides and especially in the rural parishes.

Mr Berkenheger was today (Wednesday April 7) endorsing the party’s promise to increase the budget of the Rural/Island housing fund in order to assist with averting the drastic rate of  population decline in the island's and he argues that not enough has been done by the previous three SNP administrations to avert it.

The Scottish Conservatives initially called for the Rural housing fund through their Rural commission but as of Summer last year it transpired that the Scottish government had built just 59 homes through it for £25million, a far cry from the 500 that was their initial target.

Mr Berkenheger says, “I have been receiving many representations throughout the islands on this most pivotal of topics.  How on earth can we assure the long term stability of the population in the Western Isles if house building rates and procurement strategy isn’t improved upon. 

"This is a problem that has matured over several decades and the SNP government has had a generation to sort it out.  Latest population statistics indicate that in the Outer Hebrides there is expected to be a decline by 6.1% between 2018 to 2028. 

"This cannot be allowed to happen, we must act now and plan a new framework to carry through expansive house building in every parish in the  Western Isles, the future depends on it."

Name of Candidate

Description of Candidate

ALLAN, Alasdair James

Scottish National Party (SNP)

BERKENHEGER, Gavin

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

FRASER, Shaun Alexander

Scottish Labour Party

MACMILLAN, Callum Ian

Time for Change

MITCHISON, Neil

Scottish Liberal Democrats