Rural road show in Portree

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Plans to provide financial support for rural communities in Scotland are to be discussed at a series of road shows, kicking off in Portree.

The first Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) meeting will be at Camanachd Social Club at 7pm on Wednesday May 1 and will be chaired by SRDP Programme Manager Billy McKenzie.

It comes as a consultation is due to start on how to deliver measures to benefit rural businesses and communities.

It’s the first in a series of nationwide meetings as the current measures come to an end and the shape of the 2014-2020 programme is decided.

The SRDP distributes money from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Scottish Government to be spent on things like:

  • the environment
  • modernisation of agriculture
  • forestry
  • business development
  • rural tourism
  • support for community groups and support for those living and working in fragile remote areas

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“The current SRDP will deliver around £1.2 billion of support to rural Scotland. Unfortunately the budget will be tighter than previously as the UK Government has not argued strongly enough for a fairer share of funding for Scotland in the CAP reform negotiations.

“However, we’re determined to make sure there will still be excellent opportunities to continue to support economic growth, develop vibrant rural communities and further utilise Scotland’s natural environment and heritage.

“The SRDP contributes to the Scottish Government’s commitments to make Scotland greener, wealthier and fairer, healthier and safer, and the shape the programme takes will be crucial.

“It covers a number of issues and impacts on many people within these communities and the delivery of it will be key as we continue to support the rural economy. I would encourage any member of the public with an interest in it to come to the meeting and have their say.”