Rural Policy Centre: Getting the Message Across

Published Wednesday, 7th November 2012 in Rural Policy Centre news

Rural Policy Centre at the Parliamentary reception

SRUC’s Rural Policy Centre has been incredibly busy organising both the Rural Scotland in Focus Report Parliamentary Reception and their recent conference ‘can the new SRDP deliver?’

The Parliamentary Reception

The reception, hosted by Aileen McLeod MSP, gave the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, the opportunity to respond to the Rural Scotland in Focus Report 2012.

The importance of rural broadband was highlighted in Dr Sarah Skerratt’s presentation on the report as well as the issue of decreasing carbon emissions in rural areas. She also touched on the vulnerability of some rural towns, something which Richard Lochhead later picked up on.

He said: “We need local tailored approaches when regenerating small towns… The Government wants to empower local communities so they can take charge of their own destinies.”

Looking forward to the next report hidden poverty and disadvantage and education and learning are just two of the subjects that may be examined. If anyone has any suggestions on what topics should be covered they can contact sarah.skerratt@sruc.ac.uk or jane.atterton@sruc.ac.uk.

The SRDP Conference

The Rural Policy Centre organised this event with the aim of informing the debate on the potential future of the SRDP and it achieved this objective with some aplomb.

The conference brought together representatives from governments across the UK, and the EU, as well as many other people who will be affected by the upcoming CAP reform.

After the event was opened by SRUC’s Dr Davy McCracken George Lyon MEP provided a European view on the rural development policy which offered some stark observations.

“We are still nowhere near an agreement on CAP reform,” he admitted, before saying later, “I don’t believe we will see a great improvement in Scotland’s RDP funding.”

Happily many of the following talks looked at ways in which Scotland’s rural sector could flourish without extra financial support with speakers from Wales, England and Ireland relating their experiences of supporting the agriculture sector.

Dr Davy McCracken, one of the conference organisers, said: “All the speakers and chairs performed excellently and made a key contribution to a very successful day. From the verbal feedback I have had the audience felt the same too.”

The organisers would especially like to thank Jo O’Hara from the Scottish Government who stepped into Billy MacKenzie’s shoes when he had to cancel due to unforeseen family circumstances.


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