Research reveals most urgent issues facing Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine residents
More than a fifth of people believe improving transport is the most urgent issue in Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine.
It comes as the UK Government is set to outline its plan to 'level up' the country, though anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said it must improve on its "piecemeal" attempts so far.
A survey by think tank Demos asked 20,000 adults in parliamentary constituencies across Great Britain to choose which one of nine issues most urgently needs improving in their local area.
In Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, 21 per cent of residents chose good transport services.
This was followed by good local shops (19 per cent), and fast, reliable internet access (13 per cent).
The survey also asked people how happy they are with what is currently on offer in their area.
In Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine, an estimated 23 per cent of residents think that the provision of facilities they consider most important is nearer to 'bad' than 'good' – compared to the national average of 25 per cent.
Demos said prioritising retailers was particularly prevalent in more built-up areas, while rural communities were more likely to see a lack of quality transport as a problem.
The think-tank has urged the Government to reflect on its research as it considers how best to spend the £4.8 billion earmarked for a levelling-up fund to reduce inequality across the UK.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a levelling-up White Paper in the recent Queen's Speech – to be unveiled later this year – saying it would "turbocharge" economic recovery nationwide.
But the JRF said the Government has produced just "a series of piecemeal individual policies" so far and called on the legislation to address the long-term challenges facing parts of the UK.
Mike Hawking, head of policy and partnerships at the charity, added: "The best way to do this is by boosting jobs and growing earnings in economically weaker parts of the country. "
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the Levelling Up Fund will regenerate high streets, upgrade local transport and invest in cultural assets.