SNP manifesto: what we’ll do for rural Scotland

We want all Scotland’s communities to thrive. The SNP is committed to supporting those in rural and remote areas of Scotland.

Here’s just some of the action we’ll take, if re-elected.

  • We will deliver superfast broadband to 100 per cent of premises across Scotland, bringing our rural and remote communities closer to the markets they need.
  • We will continue to apply a presumption against rural school closures, through a clear and focused legislative framework which provides for issues wider than just financial considerations.
  • We will create a Rural Housing Fund with investment of £25 million over the next three years to build new, affordable houses, enabling the needs of older people to be met more appropriately and young people and families to stay or make their lives in rural communities.
  • We will increase the NHS revenue budget by almost £2 billion in total over the life of the next parliament, with more health care delivered in the community.
  • We will keep transport costs down for our island communities. We will protect the Road Equivalent Tariff to all routes in the Clyde and Hebrides Ferry services network and take action to reduce fares on ferry services to Orkney and Shetland. And, we will maintain the existing air discount scheme at 50 per cent.
  • We will make sure almost 80,000 off-grid pensioners can take advantage of lower fuel prices by making payments of Winter Fuel Payment earlier. And, we’ll set up a Taskforce to explore new ways to help rural households heat their homes affordably.
  • We will bring forward an Islands Bill to reflect the unique needs of these communities and implement our ten-point manifesto for our islands.
  • We will continue our work to get more land into community ownership. And we will set up a new register of land ownership to increase transparency for those who live and work on our land and end the scandal of anonymous – and therefore unaccountable – land ownership.
  • We will ensure that, by 2020, at least half of all new renewable projects have an element of shared ownership.
  • We will deliver £1.3 billion of funding via the Scottish Rural Development Programme to support the rural economy, rural communities, address the impact of climate change and protect the natural environment
  • We will set up a £5 million fund to promote Island and Regional food and drink brands and we will work to increase the supply and demand of organic food in Scotland, using public procurement to drive demand.
  • We will push for further decentralisation of the Common Fisheries Policy and argue for Scotland to chair the EU Fisheries Council in the second half of 2017 when the UK holds the EU Presidency.

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