MSP hits out as rural entrepreneur fund scrapped

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth has hit out at the Scottish Government following the news a £20m rural entrepreneur fund has been scrapped.

The fund was announced last year in a bid to rejuvenate the economy following the pandemic.

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.

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth

Mr 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 rely on tourism and hospitality and the many lockdowns hit these places very hard. It will take many years for the economy to recover.

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“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.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government continues to support our rural and island communities and delivers that support across a broad range of funding packages and initiatives."