Tuesday, 12 July 2016 07:51

FUNDING for rural communities under threat following Brexit vote

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Vital funding for Scotland’s rural communities is under threat following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, statistics from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) have shown.

A report produced by SPICe has shown that 28% of the funding dedicated to the Scottish Rural Development Programme (SRDP) comes directly from the European Union. This equates to a total of £364m over SRDP’s 6-year period between 2014 and 2020, funding now under-threat following the Brexit vote.
The funding of SRDP is important in a range of rural development programmes across Scotland, including on climate change, rural broadband, enhancing the rural economy and supporting agricultural and forestry businesses.
With over a quarter of the funds that support this programme now under threat, it is vital that Scotland’s position in the EU is protected in order to continue supporting rural communities, with Scotland currently facing up to the prospect of being dragged out of the EU against its will.
Commenting, SNP MSP Gail Ross – who is Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee – said:
“These figures show how important the European Union has been in supporting rural communities across Scotland – and why it is so important that Scotland’s place in the EU is maintained..
“Without access to this vital funding, many rural communities will lose out. Rural Scotland benefits massively from EU funding that supports efforts to tackle climate change, helps make our communities more connected through better broadband access, helps those involved in agricultural and forestry work, and ensures environmental regulations are enforced, protecting and maintaining our National Parks.
“Every part of Scotland voted to remain in the European Union last month, because of the many benefits it brings, including the funds that support the Scottish Rural Development Programme. It is absolutely essential that our place in the European Union is maintained so that our communities continue to access all the benefits it brings to Scotland – and rural Scotland will not look kindly on a Tory Government at Westminster which has put this vital funding at risk.”

SPICe Briefing on Rural Affairs is available at: http://www.parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/S5/SB_16-43_Rural_Affairs_Subject_Profile.pdf
Further information on the work of the Scottish Rural Development Programme is available on their website:https://www.ruralnetwork.scot/funding/scottish-rural-development-programme

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