Fishing body calls for licence fees to be redirected towards providing affordable housing

A CALL has been made for the prices of houses in coastal communities to be subsidised by the re-allocation of licence fees being paid by salmon farm operators.

Representative body, Salmon Scotland, is urging that licence fees – totalling an estimated £10m – for operating salmon farms off Scotland’s coasts should be funnelled into making the prices of homes in coastal communities more affordable.

These fees – expected to soon rise to £20m – currently go to regulatory bodies and quangos. Their re-allocation would echo a scheme operated in Norway, says Salmon Scotland, which reports (here) it commissioned a report – by a Professor Russel Griggs – that came to the same conclusion.

Salmon Scotland is proposing that half of the expected £20m be directed specifically into affordable housing.

Says Salmon Scotland: “New analysis by Salmon Scotland shows that average home prices in areas where salmon farms operate have risen more sharply than the national average, while the average time it takes for local councils to provide housing assistance has soared.

“The lack of available, affordable housing is affecting the ability of people to live and work in Highland and Island communities.

“While the farm-raised salmon sector is already one of the largest private sector employers in many rural parts of north and west Scotland, the shortage of housing is preventing key vacancies from being filled and acting as a drag on the local economies.”

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