Jobs issue tops first rural parliament


The key themes for the first Scottish Rural Parliament have been announced this week.

Over 1,000 people took part in a survey to identify the themes which will be examined by people from rural communities and decision makers at the Scottish Rural Parliament in November.

The themes to be examined are rural businesses and employment, land use, planning and land reform, transport infrastructure, protecting our natural assets and adapting to environmental changes, Broadband and connectivity and Support for communities to lead with confidence.

Although not identified as a main theme, sufficient interest and concern arose through the consultation on the topic of ‘delivery of health and social care’ that this will be adopted this as a future theme to follow from the first Rural Parliament in November.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said; “My ambition for the Scottish Rural Parliament is to give rural communities a stronger voice and these emerging themes reflect the big issues facing those who live and work in rural Scotland today. It’s great to see the Rural Parliament making progress and the growing number of people getting involved which is key to its future success.”

Chair John Hutchison said; “This is a major step forward in delivering a collective voice for rural Scotland. We’re pleased to have had guidance from so many rural people in setting our themes and can now move ahead to create Scotland’s first Rural Parliament. The themes reflect a broad range of the challenges that are faced by people in rural communities and we will be examining them in some detail before presenting our findings to the Rural Parliament in November.”

The Scottish Rural Parliament will bring together community people and decision-makers from public bodies, NGOs and private bodies, with the aim of improving rural policy and finding better ways of providing services.

The first Scottish Rural Parliament will be held in Oban in November 2014 and will bring together 400 people from rural communities and decision making bodies to make recommendations about the best way forward on key themes. These recommendations could be for implementation at a community, local, national or European level. Bookings for the event are opening in August. To attend the event, sign up at