First Minister Humza Yousaf admits towns like Largs are “vital” to Scotland after a flying visit on Wednesday.

The First Minister met with supporters at the SNP branch offices in Gallowgate Lane on August 23, and even had time for an ice cream at Nardini’s.

Speaking exclusively to the News, Mr Yousaf said that more investment in the town was crucial to support the area and its thriving tourist economy.

He said: “Towns like Largs are not just important, but are vital to our ecosystem and our economy here in Scotland.

“From a Scottish Government perspective, how do we support important tourist hotspots like Largs to help not just the local economy but the wider one too?

“We’ve got to make sure we continue to invest in, for example, our ferry services. We’re committed to investing in additional ferries and port infrastructure.

“There’s a lot of good investment that we’ve made but there’s certainly more to come.”

The First Minister admitted that more needed to be done to improve ferry services in the area, but believes building affordable housing developments is just as crucial.

He explained: “There have been well-rehearsed challenges with the Glen Sannox and Hull 802 but we are on top of our colleagues at Fergusons and hope to be able to have those in place for next summer.

“Ferries are of course important, but it’s about investing in the port infrastructure and making sure people want to come and live in Largs.

“That’s why the Scottish Government invested in additional housing development to keep people, particularly young people, in places like Largs.”

Largs and Millport Weekly News: The First Minister met activists at the SNP's Largs branch

Asked about the future XLCC cable manufacturing plant at Hunterston which is set to bring 900 jobs, Mr Yousaf said future investment could only come by keeping skilled workers in the area.

He added: “Scotland is a really attractive place to invest, what we’ve got to make sure is that we have the skilled workforce.

“We’ve got to keep people in their local towns and communities for those that want to stay and that’s why I keep coming back to housing.

“Housing is absolutely vital to that and making sure we have good quality education, and that’s where the focus will be for me in the next programme for government.”