The financial impact of Covid-19 is being explored by Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.
The Committee has already sought written evidence on the general impact of COVID-19 on the rural economy and connectivity.
Now the Committee is focussing on the financial impact of the pandemic.
It is asking how future funding from the Scottish Government’s budget should be used to support long-term recovery in the rural economy and across Scotland’s transport and digital networks.
Responses to the call for evidence will help to inform the Committee’s ongoing work to scrutinise public spending in these areas and to influence the Scottish Government’s draft budget when it is published later in the year.
Committee Convener, Edward Mountain MSP said: “There is little doubt the pandemic has affected every sector of Scotland’s economy. But for some areas, as we have already heard, these effects have been particularly significant.
“For sectors including transport and fisheries, there have been immediate impacts. In other key areas of the rural economy, such as agriculture, there are also long-term implications and challenges to consider.
“The Committee wants to hear from those most affected about how public spending needs to change to address these challenges. What support would make a real impact?
“What are the urgent priorities and what should be the longer term financial strategy to deliver a sustainable recovery in Scotland’s transport systems, digital connectivity and the rural economy?”
The Committee is asking a series of questions. These include:
• how can future budgets best be deployed to develop resilient rural businesses, communities and supply chains?
• Is Brexit likely to pose additional challenges for the rural economy in recovering from the impacts of COVID-19 and how should funding best be allocated to support recovery of the rural economy in this context?
• What, if any, specific financial support should the Scottish Government provide to transport operators while social distancing measures remain in place?
• How can future budgets best be deployed to lock in the shift towards active travel that has occurred during lockdown?
The call for evidence follows previous work of the Committee exploring the wider impacts of Covid-19. Information about that call for evidence, which closes on 21 August, can be found here:
More information can be found via the Committee’s webpages.