- Kenny Lean, South Lanarkshire Council
- Stuart Allison, Orkney Islands Council)
- Jamie Baker, East Lothian Council
- The Rural Affairs group will consider key strategic issues and provide a collective voice in response to the current/future Scottish rural policy and funding agenda. It is recognised that local rural operational issues will differ for local authorities depending on the level of rurality within that council area.
The initial work programme to taken forward during 2018/19 (as agreed at the meeting on 27th February 2018) is as follows:
- More detailed focus and discussion on the ‘Understanding the Scottish Rural Economy’ report (see: http://www.gov.scot/Resource?0053/00531667.pdf) including an overview presentation from Eva Kleinert, Scottish Government at the next Rural Affairs meeting.
- On the back of the above report and its useful mapping of the rural economy, consideration will be given to the development of SLAED performance indicators and outcomes to generate an evidence base to promote and highlight rural issues. Focus could be given to the following issues:
Rural place-making and inclusive growth in a rural context;
- Labour market issues and the impact on rural businesses/organisations, such as migration/population retention issues particularly in light of the decision for the UK to leave the EU;
- Rural versus urban poverty, with the need to capture distinctions between the geographies, but also the accumulative effect of rural access issues, connectivity, housing, fuel, welfare reform with the introduction of Universal Credit, etc.
As well as feeding into the development of indicators and outcomes, the following topics will be discussed and explored in more detail at future Rural Affairs meetings:
- Rural place-making – assess rural locations again the six pillars (distinctive; safe and pleasant; welcoming; adaptable; resource efficient; easy to move around and beyond) in the context of reducing resources.
- Rural versus urban poverty.
- Presentation by the SRUC on recent research work at a future meeting:
- Projects to support and grow enterprises in rural Scotland (see attached); and
- Assessing the impacts of alternative post-Brexit trade and agricultural support policy scenarios on Scottish farming systems, see: https://www.sruc.ac.uk/news/article/2025/research_explores_post-brexit_trade_scenarios