Harper Macleod chairman helps launch consultation on the future of the rural economy in Scotland

Professor Crerar with NCRA co-chair Alison Milne and Fergus Ewing MSP

One of the biggest consultations in recent years on the future of the rural economy in Scotland went live yesterday and everyone who has an interest in rural matters is being urged to get involved and have their say.

The consultation is being coordinated by the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA), an independent body co-chaired by Harper Macleod founder Professor Lorne Crerar, providing advice and recommendations on rural policy to the Scottish government.

Professor Crerar, who is also chair of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “The rural economy has huge untapped potential that we are building a strategy to unleash, and you can be a part of it.

“This is a great opportunity for change and we need input from as many people as possible, which is why we are holding this nationwide consultation.

“We have been on a ‘road trip’ right around Scotland, visiting a number of stakeholders from all across the country, and from that we have drafted a road map - a discussion document that highlights issues we feel are key to the future success of Scotland’s rural economy - and we want to hear what you think.

“This discussion document is exactly that – a basis for a conversation and ideas. We know that people in rural areas often feel excluded and that there is no focal point for them locally, and we want to change that.”

The consultation focuses on three key areas – people, vision and infrastructure – and comprises nine questions on various issues, including how best to create valuable employment opportunities, how to effectively represent the contribution and value of the rural Scotland, what skills are needed to encourage entrepreneurship and how to ensure that infrastructure is fit for purpose.

Submissions and comments on the discussion document must be submitted before the closing date of Tuesday, July 24th, 2018.