As I highlighted earlier this week, the economy of Galloway is struggling, with annual average weekly earnings that are 10 per cent lower than those in the rest of Scotland. In stark contrast, research on the Cairngorms national park has shown that the unemployment rate was just 3.2 per cent, with 9,500 people employed. More important, it showed that more people were coming to the area and fewer youngsters leaving. Will the cabinet secretary recognise the economic opportunities for young people that national park designation would bring and that legislation for the creation of additional national parks would allow for sustainable economic development to be a priority?
There was more of a question in what Mr Carson was saying before he was cut off than there was in what was supposedly the question.
I want to be supportive here. If the campaign for a national park had the aim of sterilising a whole part of the south of Scotland, I do not think that that would be welcome, because that would not allow economic opportunities to be realised. However, what I heard Finlay Carson talk about was delivering economic opportunities, and I would be interested in exploring further how such a proposal could unlock those opportunities—indeed, in exactly the same fashion as the legislation to establish a south of Scotland enterprise agency is a vehicle for delivering economic growth. I am interested in hearing more about how any campaign for a new national park would add to rather than stymie economic opportunity and sustainable development, but I would also point out that the matter is primarily one for the minister for rural affairs, who I know has met the member and I think will be happy to continue to explore the subject.