SCDI have today (Friday 13th September) published the report of their Rural Commission outlining steps they believe are necessary to unlock more of Scotland’s economic potential. Launched in April 2018, the Rural Commission was established to look at the economy throughout Scotland and consider actions that can help people and businesses in every part of the country.
With 42 recommendations contained in ‘An Economy for All of Scotland – Harnessing Our Potential for Everyone, Everywhere’ the Commission has looked at what it believes are some of the measures that can allow the right decisions to be made to support investment and strengthen the contribution of people everywhere. The report covers people, place, and productivity, and its recommendations aim to:
- Understand and Embed the economy of rural Scotland in decision making and provide the right support for different parts of the country.
- Ensure people have access to housing that is affordable and secure, and more effectively support the development, businesses necessary, to meet that need.
- Drive infrastructure that can support a transition to a low carbon future and the utilisation of our natural resources, whilst recognising the transport connectivity needs of people throughout the country.
- Consider the actions government and business can take to strengthen the economy throughout Scotland and look at how they can work together to unlock future growth.
SCDI Rural Commission Chair, Chris Gaffney, said:
“Scotland has vibrant businesses working in every area of the country who all play an important role in their local and the national economy. To achieve our national economic potential, we need to ensure that the conditions exist for these businesses to continue to develop and grow, wherever they are located.
“The Commission has combined a variety of practical suggestions in the key areas of concern for business in rural areas, alongside underpinning recommendations for improved analysis of rural data, a longer-term planning cycle, and the embedding of rural within policy frameworks.
“We hope that the report is a useful contribution that will help strengthen our communities and the business based in them”.
SCDI Chief Executive, Sara Thiam, commented:
“As we look at the future shape of our economy and how we respond to growing digitisation, and act on the climate emergency, this work should help to ensure that we better recognise the impact of those changes on our communities.
“By strengthening our infrastructure, delivering the skills, and utilising our natural resources we can strengthen Scotland’s overall economy and tackle the inequality that exists between different parts of it as we do so.”
SCDI Regional Director, Fraser Grieve, added:
“SCDI have strong history of looking at the long-term issues that will shape our economy. We hope this report will start a greater dialogue over how we better capture the contribution of different parts of the country and unlock more of their potential.
“We will continue to engage widely with our members and look at the constructive role we can play in supporting these recommendations. These are not quick fixes but together could have a positive impact on reducing the barriers that are faced.”
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing MSP welcomed the report saying:
“With Brexit representing the biggest threat to our rural economy and communities in a generation, I welcome the Commission’s report, which strongly mirrors a number of the recommendations made by the National Council of Rural Advisers.
“Our rural and islands areas are home to the assets that provide the natural and business resources for key economic success stories from our natural larder to our vast renewable potential. Last year we published the first Economic Action Plan which fully incorporated Rural Scotland, setting out a number of new and existing actions that will work together to build a strong, vibrant and diverse economy that promotes wellbeing and attracts investment. We will continue to build on that success to further improve the wellbeing of our rural, coastal and island communities and provide a positive future for them.”