Plans were released this week of the proposed Rural Connectivity Commission, which will be set up after the Referendum in September. The commission will consider how to improve issues surrounding mobile and broadband coverage, postal services and transport links in rural communities.
The constitutional paper ‘Connecting Rural Scotland’ has been released this week which will act as the expert body to consider how to deliver a better deal for rural communities, businesses and providing clarity for industry and stability for investors. The paper also confirms that after the referendum, the government will take steps to ensure that coastal areas such as Caithness and Sutherland, will receive 100% net income from the Crowns Estate seabed leasing revenues.
The paper sets out five key areas:
1. Improving digital connectivity, including mobile telecoms and broadband.
2. Fairer parcel and delivery charges as well as ownership of the Royal Mail.
3. Fairer fuel prices and energy bills.
4. Better Transport Links.
5. Achieving the potential of renewables.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Our rural communities make a very valuable contribution to Scotland’s economy and have huge potential to develop even further. Too often people who live outside urban areas are poorly served by the market and the UK Government when it comes to services vital in the 21st century.”
The full Connecting Rural Scotland constitutional paper can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0045/00455562.pdf