Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles has called on the Scottish Government’s Rural Economy Minister to back the success of Scotland’s food and drink’s industries by taking action now to design a bespoke system of financial support.
In a speech before the chamber today, the North East MSP welcomed the success of important rural industries like scotch whisky but warned that if the Scottish Government failed to prepare for Brexit the rural economy would suffer in the long run.
Mr Rumbles said:
“At the start of the year, the Minister promised to deliver a council of advisors to help our rural industries prepare for life after Brexit and design a bespoke system of support that would build on the strengths of Scotland’s food and drink sector. He has not done that.
“Instead of providing a forum for all viewpoints of our rural economy, like tourism and the environment as well as agriculture, the Minister has gathered a very narrow field of representatives. We should have environmental organisations consumer groups and producer representatives on the council of rural advisors.
“I do not doubt the qualifications of the current members of the council, only the narrow width of their combined experience. That is why I have called on the Minister to bring other organisations into the fold, with backing from all sectors of our rural communities and economy.
“It will not be easy but it is vital we take this opportunity to get away from harmful political agendas and develop a full system of support for our important rural and agricultural industries.”