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Socio-economic performance of rural Scotland highlighted in new research

Accessible parts of rural Scotland are performing very strongly (c) James Hutton
"The index shows that different kinds of rural area have different profiles of need, and that rural policy needs to be fine-tuned to territorial context

The Scottish Government has unveiled today the 2015 edition of its Rural Scotland Key Facts publication, which includes a reference to a report on Socio-Economic Performance (SEP) authored by two researchers from the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences group of the James Hutton Institute.

The SEP Index combines 20 indicators into a performance score for each of about 2,000 data zones in Scotland which are either rural or in small towns. It provides a detailed and up-to-date picture of how rural areas in Scotland are doing, and reveals considerable variation in performance.

Dr Andrew Copus, co-author of the SEP Index together with Dr Jonathan Hopkins, said: “It is wrong to associate rural with ‘lagging’ or ‘poor’. Accessible parts of rural Scotland and the small towns within them are generally performing very strongly, whilst most remote rural areas are faring less well.

“There are exceptions to this generalisation, of course, some relatively accessible areas which have a mining or heavy industrial heritage are struggling, whilst some very remote rural communities have long benefitted from oil and gas, and have strong potential in relation to renewables.

“The index shows that different kinds of rural area have different profiles of need, and that rural policy needs to be fine-tuned to territorial context. Both the overall SEP index and the maps of the individual indicators provide useful tools for policy targeting, and should be used for more nuanced implementation.”

Work towards the SEP Index was funded by PAWSA, as an extension of earlier work undertaken by James Hutton Institute researchers Bill Slee, Ken Thomson and Nico Vellinga.

The SEP Index report is available from our research pages and the 2015 edition of the Rural Scotland Key Facts booklet can be accessed from the Scottish Government website.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/socio-economic-performance-rural-scotland-highlighted-new-research on 22/03/19 03:56:28 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.