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Rural plan launched by the Scottish Conservatives

31 Mar 2016

Ruth Davidson

An action plan for rural Scotland has been launched by the Scottish Conservatives ahead of May’s election.

The document – ‘Standing up for rural Scotland’ – sets out a number of priorities for countryside communities and the economy.

It was launched at an event in the Cairngorms as leader Ruth Davidson met business leaders from across the north of Scotland.

Commitments on farming, fishing, connectivity and local devolution are included.

Among the pledges in the report, which will be part of the Scottish Conservatives’ wider manifesto, are:

–          An obligation to provide universal broadband by the end of the decade

–          Allowing communities to impose moratoriums on windfarm developments

–          Handing planning exemptions to retiring farmers who want to build a home on agricultural land

–          Helping fishermen comply with challenging new regulations

–          Increasing the number of National Parks across Scotland

–          Providing more affordable rural homes

An independent inquiry into the CAP payments crisis would also be a priority for the party, after farmers were left hundreds of millions of pounds out of pocket after an SNP IT system failure.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said:

“Rural Scotland is already just about the most beautiful place on earth.

“But we need to make sure it has a better quality of life too.

“Pledges like accelerating rural broadband coverage, empowering communities over issues like local policing and windfarm development, and supporting affordable housing for young people will ensure that happens.

“For too long the SNP government has been allowed to operate a Central Belt bias, and that has damaged our rural economy.

“It’s time for that to change, and by launching this report, we have shown we are the only party absolutely committed to the wellbeing of rural Scotland.”

Notes to editors:

To see the full ‘Standing up for rural Scotland’ document, visit:

http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Rural-Plan.pdf

The Scottish Conservatives revealed today it would launch an independent inquiry into the CAP payments fiasco:

http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2016/03/probe-into-cap-payments-fiasco-will-be-at-heart-of-rural-plan/

The party’s plan for more National Parks was unveiled at Christmas:

http://www.scottishconservatives.com/2015/12/time-for-scotland-to-create-more-national-parks/