Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport & Rural Affairs Colin Smyth has hit out at the Scottish Government following the news that a £20m rural entrepreneur fund has been scrapped.

The fund was announced last year in a bid to rejuvenate the economy following the pandemic. Rural areas, such as the south Scotland constituency, which rely on tourism and hospitality, were hit hard by the many lockdowns.

The scheme was going to provide grants of up to £10,000 to support the relocation or creation of 2,000 new businesses over the next three to four years.

However, the Scottish Government has now scrapped the pledge claiming it did not have the money due to other spending commitments.

Colin Smyth said: “The scrapping of this fund is yet another blow to the economy in the south of Scotland.

“The pandemic affected all parts of Scotland but rural areas such as Dumfries and Galloway, the Borders and Ayrshire rely on tourism and hospitality and the many lockdowns hit these places very hard. It will take many years for the economy to recover.

“The rural entrepreneur scheme would have given the area a much-needed boost and would have helped with the post-pandemic recovery which we so badly need in the south of Scotland.

“Instead, the Scottish Government has once again shown how little it cares for rural areas. Our region is already the forgotten part of Scotland, to scrap a scheme like this is disgraceful.”

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