Rural Affairs

Scotland’s rural economy is at the heart of a successful Scotland. The Scottish Rural Development Programme has been supporting jobs and growth in rural Scotland and will continue into the next Parliament.

One of the biggest success stories since 2007 has been Scotland's food and drink sector with a large  increase in the value of sales of Scottish produce, and our determination to grow the sector to £12.5 billion by 2017. This has helped create and support jobs across Scotland.{C}

Scotland is among the largest sea fishing nations in Europe and the SNP have ensured that Scotland now has a louder voice in Europe over fisheries.  We’ve also introduced a series of initiatives, working with the industry to improve conservation of fish stocks, reduce discards and increase the economic value of the industry.

Initiatives like Road Equivalent Tariff to the Western Isles and the Borders Railway help improve links and are good for the rural economy. Our action to protect rural schools and improve rural healthcare are part of our commitment to a vibrant and growing rural Scotland. We will continue to work hard for, and listen to, Scotland's rural communities. 

Our record: 
  • Introduced Scotland’s first National Food and Drink Policy - We have committed £70m of new investment in the industry to create and safeguard 3,000 jobs
  • Supporting Scottish fishermen – The SNP has fought for a voice for Scottish fishermen at the EU and a Scottish Minister now attends all European fisheries talks whilst the value of fishing has increased under the SNP
  • Investing in rural development – We will continue to develop our rural industries and have introduced a Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) worth £1.5 billion over 2008-13.
  • Action on flooding – Record levels of investment in flood defence are now available to help protect those who are at most risk of flooding.
  • Introduced the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 – By overhauling 80 different Acts and over complicated pieces of legislation we have given Scotland a greater say over her offshore zone to 200 nm.


Supporting our Rural Communities

  • Digital connectivity - We support a rapid expansion of high speed broadband across Scotland so that people in rural Scotland can share fully in the digital age.
  • Food & Drink - We know this is an area of huge potential for Scotland and we will work to deliver higher value for Scottish food producers and further increase revenues and exports.
  • A one visit approach - Government must not stand in the way of farm and rural businesses and so we will further co-ordinate inspections as we work towards a one visit approach.
  • Dealing with discards - We will continue to work with the fishing industry to cut discards, conserve stocks and increase the value of catches.
  • Stronger communities - We are working to ensure Scotland's communities enjoy a benefit from renewable generation and will make it easier for communities to take over unused or underused public sector assets.