Rural Economy Action Group


The Scottish Government has established a Rural Economy Action Group (REAG) to drive forward implementation of the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA) recommendations to government. The group are to set the tone for change across Government, by being able to capture and realise the economic potential of rural Scotland and ultimately mainstream rural into all future policy and delivery. 

The group’s remit will include:

  • proposing a suite of indicators that will enable the value of the rural economy to be captured and monitored
  • monitoring and ensuring implementation of actions arising from the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA) and other rural development research
  • establishing reporting mechanisms that build an understanding of the contribution of the rural economy to achieving the purpose and outcomes in the National Performance Framework
  • identifying barriers and facilitators to progress and working to influence policy and priorities in light of these 

The group will meet six times over two years.


The group is chaired by Carol Tannahill, Scottish Government Chief Social Policy Adviser, with additional members drawn from a variety of backgrounds.

The group initially consists of the Scottish Government Chief Economist, plus six Scottish Government Directors from cross-cutting policy areas, whose roles are key in relation to issues raised by the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA):

  • REAG Chair - Carol Tannahill, Chief Social Policy Adviser 
  • Chief Economic Adviser
  • Chief Executive Transport Scotland 
  • Director for Economic Development
  • Director for Sustainable Land Use and Rural Policy
  • Director of Digital
  • Director of Energy and Climate Change 
  • Director for Housing and Social Justice

A further three challenge members external to the Scottish Government were appointed as unpaid and independent advisors on the basis of their expertise in relation to the issues raised by the NCRA:

  • academic representation - Jeremy Phillipson, Professor of Rural Development, University of Newcastle
  • business support - Johanna Dow, Chief Executive, Business Stream 
  • infrastructure - Iain Docherty, Dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Stirling

Other members will be appointed as the focus of the group changes.