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14 July 2014

Stevenson Welcomes Rural Connectivity Commission

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast has welcomed the announcement today (Monday) that a Rural Connectivity Commission will be set up after independence to look at improving mobile and broadband coverage, postal services and transport links for rural communities.

Details regarding the Commission have been published in the constitutional paper, ‘Connecting Rural Scotland.’ The proposals are that it will be an expert body, considering how to deliver a better deal for rural communities and businesses, while ensuring clarity for industry and stability for investors.

The paper will also confirm that on independence, the Government will take steps to ensure that all coastal areas of Scotland will receive 100 per cent of the net income from the Crown Estate seabed leasing revenues.

Mr Stevenson said:

“There is huge potential to develop our rural communities and bring them into the 21st century with modern technology. Often those outside urban areas are poorly served by the market and the UK government when it comes to providing these services that are taken for granted by so city dwellers.

“With independence, Scotland will have the powers to regulate these services and remove barriers which are holding rural areas back from reaching their full potential. There are opportunities to change and a Rural Connectivity Commission could take these improvements forward.”

The paper outlines five areas where independence could improve rural connectivity, including improved digital connectivity; fairer parcel and delivery charges and ownership of the Royal Mail; fairer fuel prices and energy bills; better transport links and achieving the potential of rural renewables.
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