Borders MSP Rachael Hamilton has been appointed Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross announced his new shadow cabinet yesterday and vowed his team is “ready to take the fight to the SNP from day one”
The Borders MSP has a strong affinity with agriculture, having been born and brought up on the family farm in Herefordshire. She went on to attend Harper Adams University, where she studied agriculture and began a career as a BASIS qualified agronomist working for Schering and Dalgety.
Mrs Hamilton was appointed to a similar role of Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Tourism between February and August last year, and believes she can build on the work she started during that period.
She has criticised the SNP Government for neglecting agriculture and rural areas, by failing to set out a clear vision for future farm policy and struggling to provide adequate grant support to drive efficiency and productivity.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“I am delighted to be appointed to be the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands; it is an honour to stand up for rural communities every day.
“From helping my father on the family farm when I was younger, to working as an agronomist, I understand the sector well.
“My previous track record in the industry stands me in good stead for advancing this role and making sure rural voices are heard.
“Farming, rural life and the countryside must be protected from an increasingly Central Belt focussed SNP Government.
“Going forward we must see more support to drive productivity and efficiency in agriculture, through new training schemes and farm diversification.
“On climate change, farmers must be fully supported to reduce emissions through improved Agri-Environment Climate Schemes; not lectured about what they should and shouldn’t do, without the right financial support.
“I am keen to champion new entrants and young farmers, to ensure we see new blood and an industry that passes the reins onto the next generation successfully.
“This is a significant opportunity, and I am ready to hit the ground running, in order to improve our countryside and those who work so hard to look after it”.