News

Driving forward the rural economy

Published: 16 May 2018 10:00

Protecting rural Scotland from Brexit.

The Scottish Government will continue to support and invest in the rural economy despite Brexit, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said at the 20th National Economic Forum in Dumfries.

With 97% of Scotland’s land mass classed as rural, the theme of the forum is ‘driving forward the rural economy’.

Steps by the Scottish Government to support the rural economy include:

  • Establishing the Scottish Rural Parliament
  • Appointing a Council of Rural Advisers
  • Establishing a south of Scotland Enterprise Agency   by 2020, and setting up the South of Scotland Economic Partnership
  • Committing to publish proposals on ensuring a smooth transition in farming support as the UK leaves the EU
  • Dualling the A9 and A96 and investing £35 million in the Maybole bypass between Stranraer and Ayr
  • Implementing the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband scheme

The First Minister said:

“In many of the sectors that our economic future depends, rural communities make a massive contribution. So ensuring rural Scotland thrives is a fundamental part of ensuring our economy thrives.

“Scotland – including rural Scotland – has huge economic strengths and potential. Brexit makes it more important than ever that we build on those, which is why we must ensure the specific consequences of Brexit for rural communities are identified and addressed.

“By investing in innovation and infrastructure and providing the right support for business we can help rural Scotland to build on its strengths, overcome challenges such as Brexit and seize new opportunities.

“The importance of recognising rural needs is also why we are establishing a new south of Scotland Enterprise Agency. And ahead of it being establishing, we have set up the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, backed by £10 million of additional funding.

“All of these steps will support the rural economy, and in turn drive Scotland forward.”