We were pleased to welcome the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, to our stand and event at the Royal Highland Show. Mr Ewing endorsed the Rural Parliament, saying that “the Rural Parliament plays a vital part in Scotland’s requirement to respond to rural needs”.
Mr Ewing also commented on the result of the EU referendum, which was announced earlier that morning, saying “my priority will be to provide what reassurance we can as quickly as possible to the farming community as to their financial future, given that the amount of funding that we were planned to receive from the EU amounted to £4.2 billon from 2014-2020”.
Amanda Burgauer, Chair of Scottish Rural Action, gave an overview of the progress SRA has made on the action plan from the first Rural Parliament in 2014 and Emma Cooper, National Coordinator for Scottish Rural Action, gave an overview of some of the key issues raised during the events we have recently been running. These include mental health services, housing, young people, and food production and processing. Issues raised in 2014, including business support, digital connectivity and transport remain important priorities for rural communities.
Young people attending our stand at the Highland Show in the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs indicated their agreement with Emma’s summary, choosing healthcare as their top issue out of ‘things to do’, ‘housing’, ‘education and training’ and ‘good jobs’.