Friday, 7 August 2009

SNP Contituency Reps Debate Croft Reform

Featured in the Northern Times, 7 August 2009:
Caithness Sutherland and Easter Ross delegates discussed the crofting consultation at the SNP Constituency meeting last Friday. The delegates from Invergordon, Tain, Rosehall, Helmsdale and Thurso welcomed the discussions previously held by members of the Sutherland branch which were led by Westminster PPC Cllr Jean Urquhart and Cllr George Farlow.

Crofting members of the SNP in each part of the constituency want to see reasoned changes to the draft bill. They felt that incoherent rejection of the serious points raised would not sustain crofting communities. The assurances from the crofting Minister Roseanna Cunningham that this was merely a consultation shows that SNP in Government listens to crofters.

Rob Gibson MSP told the meeting that the sensible suggestions coming from grazings committees which he has already seen confirm that thoughtful analysis rather than shoot from the hip language is needed. Members noted the appalling behaviour of attendees at several crofting consultative meetings were unrepresentative of the wider crofting community.

He said, "I am glad that the SNP government is committed to seek ways to end absenteeism, to maintain the crofting culture which underpin local grazing committees and aims to democratise the Crofters Commission."

Members also noted with satisfaction that other wider land reform issues may be debated at the SNP's Annual Conference to be held in Eden Court Inverness this October. Submissions from local branches contribute fully to the national debate.

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