LANDOWNER representatives Scottish Land & Estates has said the findings of a new report by the Scottish Agricultrual College (SAC), Rural Scotland in Focus 2012, demonstrate that the practical delivery of government policies in rural areas needs to be considered right from the outset of policy development.
Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates, Sarah-Jane Laing commented:
“The SAC report highlights differences between rural and urban areas, and also differences between rural areas themselves. There is a tendency amongst policy makers to treat rural places as homogenous in their needs and policy delivery methods but there are differences, some subtle but some significant, between the various rural parts of Scotland. As identified by SAC these changes can be clearly seen in factors such as population change, accessibility to services and remoteness.
“We would fully agree with the SAC’s report findings which show that both the design and the delivery of policies should be tailored to rural Scotland. There is a real and growing need for the practical delivery of policy in rural areas to be considered at the very earliest stage of policy development.”
On the private sector influence on rural economies, she added:
“The report clearly states that the role of the private sector extends beyond the economic benefits it provides. The suggested integrated ‘place base’ policy approach is one we are wholly supportive of. Currently a lack of alignment of government and local authority policies is not conducive to vibrant rural communities.
“Likewise, support for rural businesses is all to often developed by government or its agencies without any meaningful consultation with those businesses. If the government is serious about supporting these rural enterprises they must, as the SAC report suggests, ensure they get to know what help those businesses actually need”.