Scotland Election 2016

Holyrood election 2016: Where the parties stand on rural affairs

Voters in Scotland go to the polls on Thursday 5 May to choose their next MSPs. But where do the parties stand on key issues? Here we look at rural affairs.


  • increase digital connectivity to 100% of homes
  • invest £25m in rural housing
  • National Islands Plan in the new session, and also bring forward an Islands Bill
  • invest £5m in supporting Island and Rural produce

  • suspend the tender of the CalMac Clyde and Hebrides Ferry Service and fight to keep CalMac public
  • make universal superfast broadband a national infrastructure priority so no business in Scotland will be without access to a 10MB/s broadband connection
  • introduce a smart bus ticket system which will allow journeys across the country on a single ticket and regulate the industry
  • devolution of a Tourist Tax would allow local government to raise extra funds

  • full independent inquiry into CAP delays
  • an obligation to provide universal broadband by the end of the decade
  • planning exemptions to retiring farmers who want to build a home on agricultural land
  • increasing the number of National Parks across Scotland

  • ensure every home in Scotland has access to broadband and super-fast broadband and modern mobile phone coverage to businesses
  • restore competence and timeliness to agricultural payment schemes for farmers and crofters
  • restitution to farmers hit severely by delays in CAP payments
  • introduce an Islands Act to "island proof all legislation"

  • tackle the problem of broadband internet access in rural Scotland
  • a Food, Farming and Health Act to establish a framework for action on food security, sustainable agriculture and healthy living
  • argue for Scotland's ban on genetically-modified crops to remain in force
  • champion the creation of new national parks in seven possible sites

  • give farms the freedom to choose their own crops and remove any requirement regarding crop rotation or crops planted
  • simplify the qualification and evaluation criteria for Single Farm Payments (SFP)
  • introduce an outcomes-based approach to SFP whereby farmers are supported by government rather than threatened with penalties
  • instigate a detailed audit to reveal the full extent of financial waste in the administration of SFP