Worthy report

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We didn’t need some of Scotland’s top economic experts to tell us the ferry is vital to the island economy or that the tourist industry can’t work without visitors.

However, the Fraser of Allander Institute report on the impact of Covid-19 on Arran is much more than that.

For the first time, it provides Arran with 30 pages worth of statistics and analysis to take to the Scottish government, the UK government and any other funding bodies to say: ‘We need money for this and here’s why.’

That is why it is good to have information like if even a single ferry is cancelled is around £13,200 lost to the island economy. And that 32 per cent of all jobs on Arran are in the sustainable tourism sector.

And while our coverage this week mainly focuses on tourism, the report also goes into a great deal of detail on other aspects of the island economy. For instance, while manufacturing does not employ as many people as tourism, it is the largest sector in the local economy.

And it covers one of the most important topics on the island today – affordable housing. The report states: ‘Moving forward, to encourage working age population growth, Arran will need to invest in affordable housing and community areas to attract young professionals and families to the island.

‘This may in turn improve the supply of affordable housing on the island. However, many people have lost jobs as a result of the crisis and may struggle to purchase housing in the face of reduced earnings.’

So there is much to digest in the report and it can only be a positive that Arran Recovery Group asked and, that North Ayrshire Council agreed, to have this valuable document produced.