Scotland, with its stunning natural environment and its innovative businesses, has so much potential to have a vibrant, rural economy and be part of the green recovery that the Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for. People feel let down by this centralist Scottish Government and want more investment in our local communities.
The COVID pandemic and the botched Brexit deal have hit our rural industries hard, from fishing to farming, tourism to textiles. The hospitality sector has been particularly hard hit yet has shown incredible resilience. Despite the support provided from the UK Government during the pandemic, 3 million people across the UK have had no support at all, their businesses and entrepreneurial skills simply forgotten. The Liberal Democrats have been organising cross-party efforts calling for support for the #ExcludedUK.
Scotland will need an innovative Tourism Strategy to kickstart the recovery. This will need a multi-faceted approach including the promotion of staycations, encouraging cultural and sporting events, and showcasing our built and natural environment in conjunction with the TV and film industries.
I am determined to be the strong rural voice in Holyrood to get the services and support that are needed to address social, educational and health inequalities that our communities have suffered for far too long. Key to our recovery is fast digital connectivity, affordable housing and investing in Green industries alongside giving support to retain the traditional skills and cultural heritage that gives Scotland a unique place in the world.
- Catriona Bhatia, Rural Economy & Tourism Spokesperson, Scottish Liberal Democrats