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Big rural debate thrashes out array of rural issues

Rural issues and potential solutions were brought to the fore of the Scottish election campaign at the largest National Rural Hustings for seventeen years.

 

Hundreds of people from a rural background turned out to quiz the five candidates from the main Scottish political parties, and hear their priorities if elected in the new parliament in May.

 

The Scottish Countryside Alliance were delighted to be part of the the Big Rural Debate, a collaboration between 17 rural stakeholders,  the first time an event of such a scale has been held in a Scottish election campaign in the history of the Scottish Parliament with the sole focus being on issues of direct relevance to those working the land in rural Scotland.

 

Key speakers from the main political parties including a party leader and previous cabinet secretary addressed the audience of more than 200 people at Ingliston on Thursday (7 April)  Sarah Boyack (Scottish Labour); Peter Chapman (Scottish Conservatives); Richard Lochhead (SNP); Willie Rennie (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Mark Ruskell (Scottish Greens). 

 The event was chaired by Ken Rundle.

 

The panel addressed seven wide-ranging themes based upon key asks compiled by the rural organisations, which included: 

 

  • Better connectivity 
  • Sharing the success of Scotland’s good food story throughout the supply chain
  • Improving opportunities to further education and skills training in agricultural and land-based industries, including forestry and country sports
  • Ensuring a robust Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 
  • Measures to encourage the provision of new, affordable rural housing 
  • Support and relevant promotion of Scotland’s rural tourism 
  • Helping Scotland’s nature thrive.

 

Independent chairman Ken Rundle commented: “The last Scottish Parliament addressed a long list of issues with a direct impact on rural communities and businesses and of fundamental interest to everyone with concerns about the future of our land.

 

“Whether it be land reform, land tenure, land use, a radically different CAP, food security, food safety or climate change, the range of issues has been enormous.

 

“Tonight’s event was a great success not only in addressing how these issues will be brought forward in the next five years, but also identifying a number of interesting and exciting policy priorities that will be of significant importance for rural Scotland’s future.”

 

 

Independent chairman Ken Rundle commented: “The last Scottish Parliament addressed a long list of issues with a direct impact on rural communities and businesses and of fundamental interest to everyone with concerns about the future of our land.

 

 

 

“Whether it be land reform, land tenure, land use, a radically different CAP, food security, food safety or climate change, the range of issues has been enormous.

 

 

 

“Tonight’s event was a great success not only in addressing how these issues will be brought forward in the next five years, but also identifying a number of interesting and exciting policy priorities that will be of significant importance for rural Scotland’s future.”

 

 

 

SCA Director Jamie Stewart said:

 

 

 

We were delighted to be in a position to support the Big Debate and equally so that many of the questions posed by the audience throughout the debate echoed the calls from our own Scottish Manifesto. For too long Scotland’s rural communities and businesses have suffered through reduced financial and other resource commit from the Scottish Government. Its time for change…

 

 

 

http://www.countryside-alliance.org/csa-wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CA-Scottish_Manifesto_2016_06.pdf

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