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RURAL ISSUES HIGH ON AGENDA

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COSLA has welcomed the Scottish Office's decision to put rural issues high on the agenda for the independent commis...
COSLA has welcomed the Scottish Office's decision to put rural issues high on the agenda for the independent commission into relations between central and local government.

Following a meeting with Scottish Office minister Lord Sewel yesterday COSLA's rural affairs forum convener Dick Walsh stressed the importance of Scotland's rural areas.

'Our concerns were that rural issues would be lost to the demands of urban areas in a Scottish parliament,' he commented, 'but Lord Sewel's reassurances that they will be central to the work of the parliament are very welcome.

'Today's meeting has opened what I hope will be a continuing dialogue and partnership with central government,' cllr Walsh continued, 'and we will be coming forward with specific proposals for the rural agenda.'

He added that COSLA's proposals would include the need for a national rural strategy which was appropriately funded to tackle rural

disadvantage.

'This can only be achieved by partnership,' he went on, 'both between local and central government and between councils and their communities.'

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