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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Scotland’s Rural Communities are Being Betrayed by Brexit Obsessed Westminster

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SNP Leader, Humza Yousaf, will today call out Westminster’s betrayal of Scotland’s rural communities, highlighting the need for a Rural Visa Pilot Scheme and outlining that only the powers of independence will allow us to fully reverse the damage caused by Brexit.

Yousaf will join SNP candidate for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Susan Thomson, in visiting a croft in Stornoway.

They will then go on to visit the Shed Project, a community centre that is celebrating its 10th anniversary, for an overview of the project and its facilities.

For over 18 months, the SNP has been calling for the UK government to introduce a Rural Visa Pilot Scheme – a proposal created with and backed by NFUS, political parties and organisations across public, private and third sectors – to tackle the twin challenges of Brexit and depopulation.

Ahead of the Westminster election, the SNP Leader has said Westminster parties must commit to introducing the scheme or else devolve power to the Scottish Parliament to do so. 

Speaking ahead of the visit, Humza Yousaf said:

“Businesses and farms across Scotland’s rural and island communities have shown enormous resilience in recent years and are invaluable to communities like the one I am visiting today.

“They are a hallmark of the skill, dedication and ingenuity that runs throughout Scotland, and we must do what we can to support them so that they continue to be so.

‘That is why the SNP proposed a Rural Visa Pilot Scheme.

“This would mitigate against the labour shortages which are a direct consequence of Brexit and hostile Tory immigration policies – neither of which Scotland voted for – and facilitate routes for workers to come to Scotland and support these businesses in reaching their full potential.

“However, despite receiving backing from the Welsh Government, the UK Government’s independent migration advisory committee and organisations across the public, private and third sectors; we have seen no meaningful engagement from Westminster.

“Instead, this Tory government has continued to pursue a toxic combination of Brexit red-tape, the ending of freedom of movement and hostile Tory immigration policies – despite the significant damage this is doing to our rural industries and communities.

“A Rural Visa Pilot would go a long way to addressing this, however ultimately Scotland must look to a brighter future as an independent country that is once again a member of the EU.

“Scotland’s rural communities have been repeatedly betrayed by a Brexit-obsessed Westminster, and at the upcoming election voters can send a message that change is needed.

“The best way to do that is by voting SNP – for a brighter future as an independent country in the EU.”

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