Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie today said that boosting the rural economy is at the heart of Liberal Democrat plans to make Scotland the best again.
Speaking as he met Easter shoppers at Loch Leven’s Larder in Kinross-shire, Mr Rennie said that the failure of the SNP to deliver farm payments on time has left many businesses in a deep hole. With delays to the EU funding having removed an estimated £300m from Scotland’s rural economy, Mr Rennie said that Lib Dems will accelerate the roll out of super-fast broadband to offer hard pressed firms a boost.
Additional funding to support digital improvements will be provided through a new “Fit for the Future Fund”. Liberal Democrat plans would see super-fast broadband rolled out to every single household in Scotland.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said:
“Business across rural areas of Scotland have been left in a deep hole as a result of the SNP’s Common Agricultural Policy payments shambles. Weeks after the First Minister announced an emergency funding package, farms across the country are yet to receive a penny of crucial support.
“Agricultural and rural communities cannot go on like this. Farmers and businesses in places like Kinross-shire deserve better than they are getting from the SNP. Hundreds of millions of pounds has been taken out of our rural economy as a result of the EU funding delays. That is why Liberal Democrat will accelerate the rollout of super-fast internet, helping businesses reach new customers and ensuring that no home is left behind.
“Businesses in rural areas are often the ones that would benefit most from improved digital services but they are usually at the back of the queue. Large areas of the country have been left in a digital dark age and there is no sign that the SNP grasp the urgency of this situation.
“Investment from our Fit for the Future fund will help ensure rural Scotland is at the heart of our work to make Scotland the best again.”