Pre-budget Scrutiny

Closed 11 Aug 2023

Opened 30 Jun 2023

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As part of its pre-budget scrutiny of the 2024-25 Scottish budget, the Rural Affairs and Islands Committee is reviewing the 2023-24 Scottish Budget and wants to hear your views. 

The 2023-24 budget set out the Scottish Government’s spending priorities for the year.

With regards to the Rural Affairs and Islands Budget portfolio, the 2023-24 Scottish Government budget document states the following:

Rural Affairs and Islands is a diverse portfolio which includes farming and food production, animal health and welfare, rural and island communities, food and drink, crofting, fisheries and aquaculture. The reach of the portfolio is broad and vital, supporting the Scottish Government’s overarching ambition to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss whilst supporting food production.

Our priorities in this Parliament are to continue reforming and transforming key areas so this portfolio can help make Scotland greener and fairer. It is essential that Scotland is steadfast in its journey to Net Zero, investing in a strong economy, and building a fairer society as one of the means of addressing the current cost crisis.

This portfolio also has a vital role in maintaining certainty across the rural economy through direct cash injections, alongside supporting the creation of a more prosperous country by safeguarding the natural environment and harnessing the power of all of our people and our natural assets.

“In the coming year, we will focus on: 

  • strengthening the resilience of rural, coastal and island communities, businesses and industries; 
  • continuing stability through ongoing support across the agricultural sector alongside testing new approaches to help farmers and crofters cut emissions and enhance nature; 
  • developing shared stewardship of our marine assets to ensure a strong blue economy and progress towards good environmental status for all of Scotland's marine waters; 
  • driving towards a Net Zero and climate resilient economy through transformation in agriculture, land use and marine sectors; 
  • developing Scotland's second National Marine Plan, to address the global climate and nature crises by managing increasing competition for space and resources in the marine environment; 
  • promoting advice and skills for farmers and crofters to support a Just Transition and act on the recommendations provided by the independent Commission on land-based learning; 
  • supporting a successful food and drink sector to produce high quality, healthy food and promote it to local, regional and international markets; 
  • establishing a dedicated Food Security Unit within the Scottish Government to monitor ongoing supply chain vulnerabilities and linking with future food security work, and 
  • investing in our island communities so that they thrive and flourish in the future.”

More information on the 2023-34 Scottish Government budget is available online here.

The Committee would welcome your views on: 

  • the extent to which these 2023-24 priorities are being met;
  • whether these continue to be the right priorities; and
  • whether the Scottish Government should have other priorities within the budget?


  • RAI