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Holyrood committee launches inquiry into effects of COVID-19 on the rural economy and transport

Hay bales - Image credit: Press Association

Holyrood committee launches inquiry into effects of COVID-19 on the rural economy and transport

A Holyrood committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on the rural economy and public transport.

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will consider the Scottish Government’s response to the pandemic and wants individuals and businesses to highlight specific issues they would like MSPs to look at.

Views are sought on the impact of the emergency on public transport and the implications of easing the lockdown.

The committee will also look at how agriculture and fisheries have been affected by the crisis and whether these sectors have received enough support to deal with the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Committee convener Edward Mountain said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives immeasurably in a relatively short period of time, but the impact on rural and island communities has been particularly acute.

“The economic effect of the emergency lockdown measures imposed to tackle the spread of the coronavirus has presented significant challenges for the farming, forestry and fishing industries.

“Remote communities which already suffer from poorer transport and digital infrastructure have been effectively cut off from their families and from accessing vital services.

“Significant adjustments will also be required across our public transport services as the lockdown is eased in the coming weeks and months and the safety of the travelling public is hugely important.

“The committee wants to hear about the experiences of individuals and businesses and whether they feel they have received the support they need to survive and recover from this crisis.

“We also want to learn about examples of good practice as we consider what lessons can be learned about the response to the pandemic and also how existing practices may need to change as we move forward.”

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