SCOTGOV HAS announced that more than £650 million of support is to be injected into rural and island communities and businesses.

In a statement, the government said that its 2022-23 budget for rural Scotland would guarantee support across the rural economy in agriculture, fishing, and seafood, as part of an overall budget to strengthen the resilience of rural, coastal and island communities, businesses and industries to recover from the pandemic and the UK's departure from the EU.

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The funding is also aimed at supporting the transformation of agricultural and marine economies to meet the 2045 emissions reductions targets, and reinforces action to reverse biodiversity loss, restore nature and protect our future. This effort to make Scotland a 'global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture' will see £25 million of investment.

Food Industry support of £10.5 million will provide assistance to Scotland’s food and drink sector, underpinning its recovery from Covid-19 and EU exit, while a new round of agri-environment investment will be delivered as part of an overall £36 million budget, including funding to help deliver the commitment to double the land used for organic farming.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon commented: “Rural and coastal communities have been hit hard by the economic impacts of Brexit and the pandemic.

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“This budget underlines our commitment to supporting these communities, sustaining and creating employment, while meeting our climate change responsibilities.

“We continue to press the UK Government to increase the allocation of marine funding to properly reflect the size and importance of Scotland’s marine sectors, and address underfunding in the past and the significant impacts of Brexit on these sectors.

“At the same time, this funding will deliver sustainability, promote Scotland’s iconic food and drink produce and protect our natural environment for the generations to come.”