Scottish members: post election briefing

17 June 2016

All Confor members in Scotland have been sent a detailed briefing about key developments since the SNP won a third term in power at the Holyrood Parliament.

The main elements are:

* Forestry is now the responsibility of the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing MSP (a knowledgeable supporter of forestry and wood processing). 

* Confor will meet Mr Ewing later this month and work with him to deliver pledges made in the SNP manifesto - to plant 10,000 hectares of new woodland annually and speed up the application process - and to identify specific actions needed to make this happen.

* Confor will also work with other MSPs to build cross-party support for the wide range of positive benefits forestry can deliver in Scotland, linking work at the Scottish Parliament with visits to forestry and timber businesses in MSPs’ constituencies.

* The Scottish Conservatives, now the second largest party and main opposition, named North East farmer Peter Chapman MSP as Rural Economy spokesman. Other Rural Affairs spokespersons are: Scottish Labour - Rhoda Grant MSP; Scottish Greens - Mark Ruskell MSP; Scottish Liberal Democrats - Mike Rumbles MSP

* The new Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee has Conservative Edward Mountain MSP as its Convener and Gail Ross MSP (SNP) as Deputy Convener.

Jamie Farquhar, Confor's Scotland Manager, said: "The announcements come thick and fast after an election and it is important that Confor provides all relevant material to members in a speedy and straightforward manner.

"We look forward to meeting Fergus Ewing and working with him to drive forward new planting - to build an even brighter future for our £1 billion industry and the 25,000 jobs it provides."