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 groups primary focus will be around implementing change and achieving outcomes so that the rural economy’s full potential can be realised. Members will explore the key challenges and where government interventions can have the biggest positive impact on our economy; for rural business, communities and the environment.

The purpose of group is to:

  • monitor and ensure implementation of actions arising from the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA) and other rural development research
  • identify barriers and facilitators to progress and work to influence policy and priorities in light of these
  • propose a suite of indicators (qualitative & quantitative) that will enable the value of the rural economy to be captured and monitored
  • establish reporting mechanisms that build an understanding of the contribution of the rural economy to achieving the purpose and outcomes in the National Performance Framework
  • these will include the implications for those outcomes as a result of the rural economy’s contribution
  • this is a short term group (2 years) that will meet 6 times 


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.




Back to top