Group 2

Group 2 - wall
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Main themes


The group strongly expressed a need for and a current lack of a coherent rural strategy by government. Policies appear to aim for short term results, uninformed and ignoring the needs of rural communities, which are expected to lead to depopulation, this being the result of a focus on urban areas. The future depends on fundamental reform in the public sector which has to join up efforts across sectors. Loss of funding sources is seen as a major threat.

Present themes


  • Absence of a Cross-Government Rural Policy; too many Top-Down Initiatives; confused and disjointed; over-centralised (e.g. Crofting); too much administration and a reluctance to empower communities (at least in some areas)
  • Hard to use support mechanisms; short term thinking resulting in uncertain future; bureaucratic funding systems;
  • Too much emphasis on Agriculture and Land-based industries
  • Risk averse
  • Climate challenge in diverse areas
  • Current connectivity and transport policies will lead to depopulation
  • Visibility of Rural Development far smaller than that of the Metro Regions
  • Lack of good data
  • Misunderstood and under threat


  • Unique Assets; Great Place: fantastic scenery, people, wildlife and outdoor activities
  • Fantastic Food & Drink
  • Still creative, innovative and vibrant with great potential
  • Community Leadership in some areas
  • Amongst the best LEADER in EU

Heaven themes

  • Joined up Public Policy
  • Community Lead Local Development freed from unnecessary red tape
  • 500Mb Internet broadband for ALL
  • Connected communities
  • Food and Drink in demand globally
  • Confidence restored to remote and rural population
  • Proportionate funding and resources achieved (i.e. rural vs urban); rural valued the same as urban
  • Fully integrated support programmes, funded by focusing on outcomes
  • LEADER process universally adopted
  • Successful job creation
  • Vibrant communities; Happy and Healthy people
  • Sustainable social and economic activity
  • Community-based enterprises supported across Scotland
  • Natural and Cultural Assets managed sustainably

Hell themes

  • No programmes post Brexit, no support for rural development; back to the 1970s/80s
  • Rural local authorities consolidated with cities; urban dominated policies; or local authorities unchanged from today
  • Community Empowerment Bill revoked
  • Funding only for agriculture
  • Population exodus, way of rural and island life and communities gone
  • Rural retirement hegemony
  • Landownership remains in hands of few; Food and Drink industry lost; land abandoned

Connect Heaven to the Present (timeline created and listed backwards, leading from Heaven to the Present)

  • Change of Attitude (three notes!)
  • Public Sector Reform (as a good fortune)
  • Statutory requirements created for a joined up policy, based on consultation and from engagement
  • Independence Referendum, avoiding Brexit (as good fortune)
  • Community budgeting
  • Intelligent decision making
  • Rural-proofing consistent Cross-Departmental Policy
  • Capacity Building within Communities

Leading to Hell:

  • More centralisation (from London or Edinburgh)
  • Parochialism
  • Third Sector squeeze

Feedback during reporting

  • Positive, engaged, signs of agreement