THE Scottish Government is promising targeted funding to help communities suffering most as a result of depopulation.

The move comes as ministers launch a blueprint aimed at addressing the decline in the number of people living in some parts of Scotland – particularly rural and island areas.

The Addressing Depopulation Action Plan outlines the steps the Government will take to support people to live and work in areas where the population is decreasing.

It promises targeted funding for areas particularly impacted, and work to improve housing, transport and education in these communities.

READ MORE: Depopulation in rural Scotland is not an issue we can ignore

It comes after Kate Forbes said areas of demographic concern in the Highlands and Islands should be considered a “national emergency” by the Scottish Government.

The MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch urged for Holyrood to focus on “immediate priorities” to retain population numbers in the north of Scotland, and not purely focus on relaxed immigration rules in hope of a population upturn.

Migration minister Emma Roddick will launch the plan during a visit to Fort William in the Highlands on Friday, saying addressing depopulation is a “priority” for the Scottish Government.

Roddick said: “People are Scotland’s greatest asset. However, a falling birth rate, ageing population, and lower inward migration after Brexit mean that some places need support to secure the populations required to help their local communities and economies thrive.

READ MORE: Floods in Angus spotlight the region's struggle with depopulation 

“While there is no quick fix to the challenges that lead to population decline, this plan will set out the next steps in our work to help communities up and down the country grasp opportunities and unleash their potential.

“Understanding that depopulation affects different places in different ways is at the heart of this strategy.

“Local leaders and organisations know their communities best, and we will set out concrete steps to empower them and channel their expertise.”