A new group tasked with bringing Scotland's rural economy to the forefront of Government policymaking has been launched.

The new Rural Economy Action Group will guide how Scottish Ministers drive forward recommendations of a recent report by the National Council of Rural Advisers (NCRA).

These recommendations include ensuring that rural policy is embedded in all decision making and ensuring national economic plans and industry-led strategies are joined up and promote the rural economy.

Delivering rural commitments

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing announced the first chairman of the group while visiting Great British Bake Off 2015 star Flora Shedden’s Aran Bakery in Dunkeld.

He said: “As we edge ever closer to leaving the EU at the end of March and the risk of leaving with no deal in place growing, there has never been a more important time to ensure that our rural economy is mainstreamed into everything we do.

“That is why, having listened to the National Council of Rural Advisers, I am delighted to announce that Carol Tannahill has agreed to chair the new Rural Economy Action Group, which will immediately seek to guide how Scottish Ministers drive forward the Council’s recommendations to grow a vibrant, sustainable and inclusive rural economy."

Carol Tannahill is currently the head of Social Policy for the Scottish Government.

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Ewing added: “Scotland’s rural economy is bursting with talent and potential. By ensuring effective mainstreaming of rural policy into all of our policy thinking and delivery, I am determined to ensure that our rural economy becomes the driving force behind, not just our national brand, but also our national prosperity.”

Co-chairman of the NCRA, Lorne Crerar said: "I am delighted that Scottish Government has recognised the importance of the report by the National Council of Rural Advisers and, in particular, the need to create a Rural Economy Action Group to ensure the creation of a robust rural economic strategy to be embedded in our national aspirations.

"It is a great step forward which will ensure that the ambitions we have for a vibrant, progressive Rural Economy in Scotland are realised.”

Full membership of the Rural Economy Action Group will be announced in due course.