Scottish Land and Estates (SLE) has welcomed funding commitments from the Spending Review which can help aid the rural economy in the coming years.

Amongst the measures announced in the Spending Review, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed £1.1 billion to support farmers and land managers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2021-22.

A further combined £28 million in 2021-22, as recommended by the Bew Review, was also confirmed.

The UK government also announced a National Infrastructure Strategy that will invest £600 billion over five years – and £100 billion next year.

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive at SLE, said:

“Scotland’s rural economy has the impending challenge of an as yet undefined new relationship with Europe to consider.

Any short-term stability which can be provided is therefore welcome and the confirmation of funding support for farmers and land managers in the devolved nations is positive from the UK government.

“In Scotland, we are awaiting details of how the Scottish government intends to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2024 and it is important that we use these intervening years to plan for a new future support package.”

‘A real boost for rural areas’

Laing continued:

“The National Infrastructure Strategy also has the potential to provide a real boost for rural areas.

The lack of infrastructure spending in our rural locations has often inhibited the potential to create jobs and grow economic output and we look forward to seeing how it can address many of these issues.

“The projected unemployment statistics demonstrate the weight of the challenge faced by the UK in the wake of the pandemic but despite the tests faced by sectors such as tourism this year.

“Scotland’s rural businesses are determined to play their part in the recovery. We hope today’s announcements can go some way to aiding that process,” she concluded.