Open letter to Scottish Government seeking clarification on support for country sports tourism businesses

General News

Scottish Land & Estates has written to Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, seeking urgent clarification on the eligibility of country sports tourism businesses in the raft of new support funds announced yesterday by the Scottish Government on 21 April 2020.

Letter to Ms Hyslop:

Dear Cabinet Secretary,

I am writing to you seeking urgent clarification regarding the inclusion of country sports tourism businesses in the new support funds announced yesterday (21 April 2020) by the Scottish Government.

Firstly, I would like to reiterate that at Scottish Land & Estates we welcome the action taken by the Scottish Government in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and the support being provided to Scotland’s small business sector. We are in unprecedented times, and fully appreciate the speed at which these new support funds are being developed. 

We were, however, extremely concerned to see country sports tourism businesses excluded from the Small Business Support Grant and are in continued dialogue with your Cabinet colleagues on this matter. Following on from your announcement yesterday of the new Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund and the Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund, which are due to open before the end of April, we are seeking confirmation that country sports tourism businesses will be eligible for this funding?

As you will be aware, country sports tourism businesses are a key industry in Scotland’s leisure and hospitality sector, providing vital employment in some of Scotland’s most fragile, rural communities. Not only that, they play an important role in bringing tourism to rural Scotland, benefiting a huge number of neighboring retail, hospitality and leisure businesses (accommodation, restaurants, bars, shops).

We absolutely agree with your statement that “our hospitality, tourism and creative sectors have been decimated by this crisis and previously profitable businesses have seen demand dry up overnight”. Many country sports tourism businesses have seen a complete drop-off in their clients and will make zero revenue this season. This will inevitably have a further negative effect on neighboring retail, hospitality and leisure businesses. Providing vital support for country sports tourism  businesses will protect vital jobs in remote, rural parts of Scotland, and allow these enterprises to continue to support other businesses in their local community. 

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with you further as a matter of urgency and am happy to provide examples of the impacts experienced by our members businesses.

I look forward to hearing back from you at your earliest convenience. 

Yours sincerely,

Sarah-Jane Laing
Chief Executive