Rural issues must be kept ‘front and centre’ as politicians battle it out for votes in the run up Scottish Parliamentary elections on May 5, farm chiefs have said.
NFU Scotland said that while rural issues were at the heart of a healthy and vibrant Scotland, recent televised debates involving party leaders had failed to explore countryside matters.
NFUS parliamentary officer Clare Slipper said farmers and crofters wanted to hear what parties would deliver for the country’s food and farming sectors, the environment and the wider rural economy.
She added 67,000 people were directly employed in Scottish farming with a further 360,000 people employed in the Scottish food and drink sector.
“This makes the countryside an important battleground in this election,” Ms Slipper said.
Those who live and work in Scotland’s countryside will be given the opportunity to quiz the nation’s parliamentary parties in a national hustings being staged in the MacRobert Pavilion, the Royal Highland Centre, near Edinburgh on Thursday April 7 at 7pm.
The event, supported by 17 rural stakeholders, will feature (in alphabetical order) Sarah Boyack (Scottish Labour); Peter Chapman (Scottish Conservatives); Richard Lochhead (SNP) and Willie Rennie (Scottish Liberal Democrats).
Scottish Greens have yet to confirm who will be attending.
The event will be chaired by Ken Rundle of SRUC.