Concerns have been raised after the population of North Ayrshire has shrunk by the third largest in Scotland over the period of a decade.

West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene has expressed concern over the latest census data, which showed that the population of North Ayrshire shrank by 3.4 per cent between 2011 and 2022.

Jamie Greene said that the latest census data reflected some of the challenges that the local authority has experienced over the last decade, but that he was optimistic for the future of the region as it begins to take advantage of new opportunities.

The National Records of Scotland (NRS) revealed that the region's population has shrunk by 3.5 per cent since 2011, from 138,146 to 133,400 - the third largest decrease in Scotland.

However, Mr Greene said that the data also held cause for optimism.

He pointed out that the number of households in North Ayrshire increased by 2.7 per over the decade, reflecting positive economic growth since 2011.

He said: “Of course what we want to see in our area is growth, so it's concerning that we haven’t seen that over the last decade in our population.

“The past decade has posed challenges for North Ayrshire and we’re seeing that in some of the data. But despite that, I’m really optimistic about the future of our region.

"For instance, we’ve seen the number of households actually increase over the same period, so we shouldn’t be too negative about the data.

“More recently we’ve seen new investments and new opportunities, and I’m looking forward to seeing the positive effects of those for our area in future surveys.”