The Rural Commission
The Rural Commission has been established to look at the challenges and opportunities that exist outwith central urban Scotland and ensure we harness the future economic potential of all of Scotland.
This independent commission will run for up to two years and will support businesses and drive inclusive growth by considering the short, medium, and long-term actions that can be taken to enhance the economic performance of the economy across every part of Scotland.
Membership of the Commission is comprised of different sectors and geographies and it will engage with – and hear from– the diverse range businesses and organisations working across rural Scotland through its work, and make recommendations to help support growth and employment.
Themes and Priorities
Initially the Commission will explore the three themes outlined below:
First and foremost, growth is reliant on people. With available talent in sufficient quantity growth could be catalysed. How we make rural areas attractive for families, support people to live in rural areas, reach employment, and develop their skills, needs to be the top priority. Vital to also recognise that culture and community can play as major role in decisions over where people or investment locates.
Place – Infrastructure and capital in order to deliver transport and digital connectivity, housing, and business investment that is appropriate to the needs of individual areas. Consider where adjustments are required to priorities, regulations, and service delivery to meet the needs of individual areas.
And productivity and how we help drive the improvements needed to support business growth. Driving productivity will strengthen businesses and support increasing wage inflation to help address the urban rural pay gap. This includes looking as barriers that might limit growth.
Housing is one of the biggest challenges we faced throughout Scotland with many struggling to access a home that is secure, affordable, and accessible for employment opportunities. Without action the projected demographic change in many areas is showing a declining working age population and the need to provide housing that redresses that balance and supports families and individuals who can meet the economic needs of communities is vital. How we meet that challenge is one of the biggest questions we need to answer if businesses and communities are to ensure that they can retain and attract the people necessary to support our economic growth.
Download our discussion paper and feed in your thoughts.
Get in touch
Please share your views using the form below on what you believe can help harness the economic potential of rural Scotland.
Chair, SCDI Rural Commission, Group Finance Director, Johnstons of Elgin
Chair, SCDI Highlands & Islands
Dr Stuart Black
Director of Planning and Infrastructure
The Highland Council
Business Services Co-ordinator
Liberty British Aluminium
Regional Director - Highlands & Islands & Head of Communications
Fiona Larg MBE
Chief Operating Officer and Secretary
Univeristy of the Highlands and Islands
Dame Barbara Kelly
Operations Director – Processing and Feed
Mowi Scotland Ltd
Economic Development Team Leader
Calum Iain MacIver
Director of Development
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Director of Sustainability
Partner (Head of Land and Rural Business)
Partnership Director for Scotland
Head of Property
Crown Estate Scotland
We want to hear from you on what steps you believe could support business growth across the economy in rural areas. What measures you believe could help unlock business growth, retain and attract people, or strengthen communities. As this work progresses we’ll look in the round at how we support growth for the benefit of everyone, everywhere.