Scots get say over how £57.7m of rural funding is spent

Scots get say over how £57.7m of rural funding is spent

Rural communities across Scotland will share £57.7m to grow local their economies, improve rural facilities and conserve the environment.

The funding, a joint allocation by the Scottish Government and European Union under the Leader programme, is the first tranche of money to be released under the £1.6bn Scotland Rural Development Programme.

Matched at a local level by public and private funds and managed by 16 local action groups, the programme is intended to support innovative, community led plans to develop local economies; £38.5m will be awarded for the whole of rural Scotland with an additional £19.2m for the Highlands and Islands.

Cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment, Richard Lochhead, said: ‘The fact that all funding decisions are to be taken locally will greatly empower community decision-making and ensure that only those projects which will make a real difference to rural Scotland will be selected.

‘I would like to encourage rural communities to seize the opportunities now presented by this funding and take control of their own future development.’