Richard Lochhead is set to outline the benefits of independence for rural Scotland at next week’s Highland Show. Mr Lochhead will make a speech and take questions at an event to be held in the Scottish Government pavilion on the second day of the show.
Mr Lochhead said: “As Rural Affairs Secretary I have worked hard to use the powers of devolution to drive forward our ambitions for rural Scotland, for its communities and its industries. But we will be able to do much more with the powers which independence brings. I firmly believe that Scotland’s true potential has yet to be realised and that’s particularly true in rural Scotland where we have fantastic assets and yet, too often, find ourselves unable to harness their full potential because of the limitations of devolution. The Royal Highland Show is a major highlight of the rural calendar and I believe it’s a fitting venue for us to outline our vision for what independence could mean for rural Scotland”.
But the show will also host the launch of the Rural Better Together campaign, a farmer-led campaign group says rural Scotland lacks a voice in the independence debate because representative organisations have to remain apolitical. Lib Dem MEP George Lyon, who chairs the campaign group said “many farmers share the concerns of other people around Scotland about independence”. “They also have particular questions about next year’s referendum that the nationalists are simply not addressing.” Leading farmers supporting the campaign, include two Aberdeenshire former vice-presidents of NFU Scotland, Peter Chapman and Maitland Mackie, chairman of Mackie’s ice cream, and prominent Angus arable and fruit farmer Willie Porter.
The Government press release can be accessed here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2013/06/rural-independence