There has been some positive progress for rural communities in the last few months across a wide-range of policy areas and including the fulfilment of several key objectives identified at the Scottish Rural Parliament 2014.
A pledge from both our Prime Minister and our First Minister to provide 100% broadband coverage is exceedingly welcome. We are looking forward to meeting with Scottish Government's Digital Scotland team in April to explore the options available to rural communities.
New financing options for rural housing provision are also to be applauded. Although evidence indicates a much greater gap in housing needs than even these funds will be able to meet, they will enable communities to take positive action towards meeting those needs.
The COSLA ‘Manifesto for a Stronger Scottish Democracy’ is a step forward in a tricky area that remains a clear identified need. The Future Islands Bill and the recent commitment of the Highland Council to a Skye Committee are both interesting developments in the potential reform of local democracy and we look forward to seeing actions in other parts of Scotland.
Finally, the passing of the eagerly (albeit tensely in some quarters) awaited Land Reform Bill has been generally greeted as a significant milestone in the development of a fairer Scotland.
I hope you enjoy reading further details of all these developments and more.