Parliament has, today, backed Scottish Liberal Democrat plans to establish an independent group to examine how rural funding is delivered in Scotland.
Tabled by North East MSP Mike Rumbles, the Scottish Government voted for the amended motion that will see a team of stakeholders and experts set up to explore options for the future of rural support in Scotland, irrespective of whether the UK leaves the EU in 2020.
Mr Rumbles, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for rural affairs, said: “This is good news for our rural communities and will help secure the future of our rural economy. In recent months I have spoken to many stakeholders and organisations who are concerned by the lack of preparation to secure this funding. Most agree that this is the correct way to proceed, so I’m delighted the parliament agreed to back out plans today.
“Should the UK leave the EU, hundreds of millions of pounds of Common Agricultural Policy subsidies may end for our rural businesses and stakeholders. The future of funding and support for our rural communities is now hugely uncertain. That is why I have been calling on the Scottish Government to set up a team of specialists to advise the government on the best way to create a system of support that works to the strengths of Scotland’s rural economy.
“It is vital that we take this opportunity to involve rural businesses, stakeholders and policy makers in that process and get the best deal we can. The Liberal Democrats stand for Scotland in the UK and the UK in Europe. But measures must be put in place otherwise it will spell disaster for our rural communities who depend on this support.”
Notes for editors:
Liberal Democrat amendment:
- As an amendment to motion S5M-03463 in the name of Fergus Ewing (The Future of Funding for Rural Development), insert at end “; calls on ministers to establish an independent group involving relevant stakeholders to provide advice as to the principles and policies which should underpin options for rural support beyond 2020, and, in the intervening period, provide as much certainty and information as possible to farmers, crofters and the wider rural economy.”