BERWICKSHIRE MSP John Lamont is asking local people to take the opportunity to make their views heard by a Rural Commission set up by the Scottish Conservatives.
The Commission will examine aspects of rural life, ranging from agriculture to housing and environmental issues. It will report its findings to the Scottish Conservatives but the party insists that the commission will have the freedom to operate independently of the party and will not be bound by past policies.
Rural Commission chairman Hughie Campbell Adamson said: “The team I am putting together is not only made up of leaders in their particular fields, but of people with differing political convictions.”
Three of the commissioners are Robin Harper, former Green Party leader; Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of Scottish Fishermen’s Federation; and Andrew Hamilton, a specialist in land management.
They want to hear from everyone who lives in a rural area of Scotland - experts and ordinary members of the public -and will base their final report next year on their findings.
Mr Lamont said: “It is vitally important that regions such as the Borders are given the services, infrastructure and employment opportunities to sustain future generations. By setting up this commission it shows that the Scottish Conservatives understand the challenges often faced by rural communities.
“We know the importance of rural areas in Scotland and are committed to establishing policies that will help them thrive. In order to do this though, the commission knows it needs to listen to as wide a range of views as possible.
“That’s why they are asking for as many people as possible to take part in the evidence gathering. Whether you are an industry expert or a member of the public they want to hear what you have to say.
“As the members of the commission are from across the political spectrum it will mean they are free from party direction when it comes to their final suggestions.
“That is why I would encourage as many people in the Borders as possible who have an interest in the future of rural communities to take part and have their voice heard.
All you have to do is contact them by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
“Together with this great team and help from those living in rural communities I am confident that this commission will produce a thorough and innovative report that will come up with policies that will really help rural areas such as the Borders.”