Moray has many pleasing characteristics, it includes the fishing towns in the north such as Buckie and Lossiemouth; the agriculturally rich Laich of Moray and the main town of Elgin; the Spey Valley, home to world renowned food processors such as Walkers and Baxters; and the highlands of the south which form part of the Cairngorm mountain range.
Most people (almost 60%) live in the 5 main towns of Elgin, Buckie, Forres, Keith and Lossiemouth. The overall population density is low at 38 persons per square kilometre (compared to 66 in Scotland). There is a clear difference between the populated, rich agricultural land in the Laich of Moray along the northern coast and the sparsely populated upland areas to the south.
Moray is an attractive place with 70 percent of its area being open countryside with a further 25 percent being made up of woodlands. The area to the south around Tomintoul will form part of the Cairngorms National Park proposed by the Government.
There is a high degree of reliance on the food processing and whisky industries. The food processing industry is concentrated in a small number of local family-owned firms, whilst the ownership of local distilleries is dominated by major multi-national firms. The local economy also relies heavily on the presence of RAF Lossiemouth, a major UK military base. Moray is a fragile, remote area, which has the lowest average wages in Scotland together with a high dependency on the car with fuel costs comprising an increasing part of the household budget. There are high levels of demand for affordable housing resulting from the low wage economy within Moray.
The Moray Council is responsible for providing all the major local authority services in the Moray area, including Education, Social Work, Roads, Economic Development & Planning and Leisure Services. The Council employs around 4,500 people across a whole range of professions and skills.