Big debate on countryside matters

Rural organisation quizzed the main political parties recently about their priorities ahead of the Scottish elections.

The Big Rural Debate hustings at Ingliston last week attracted hundreds of people who turned out to hear the five candidates from the main Scottish political parties discuss rural issues.

This is the first time an event on this scale has been held in a Scottish election campaign in the history of the Scottish Parliament.

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Speakers from the main political parties, who addressed the audience of more than 200 were Sarah Boyack (Scottish Labour); Peter Chapman (Scottish Conservatives); Richard Lochhead (SNP); Willie Rennie (Scottish Liberal Democrats) and Mark Ruskell (Scottish Greens). The event was chaired by Ken Rundle who discussed topics as diverse as better connectivity, sharing the success of Scotland’s good food story throughout the supply chain, improving opportunities to further education and skills training in agricultural, the Common Agricultural Policy, provision of affordable rural housing, tourism and nature conservation.