SLE responds following John Finnie MSP's comments on sporting rates

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Scottish Land & Estates has responded to comments made by John Finnie, Green MSP for Highlands & Islands, in an article published by The National on 23rd February 2019.

Letter to John Finnie MSP:

Dear Mr Finnie

I write to you on behalf of SLE's Highland members following your comment on sporting rates in The National on Saturday 23 February. I hope the below clarifies some misunderstandings.

The assessment and collection of rates on shooting rights and deer forests is not related to entitlement, privilege or 'bloodsports'.  Rates on shooting rights and deer forests are applied regardless of whether the rights are used and anyone, regardless of the holding size or management objectives, who occupies sporting rights are subject to being rated - Scottish Government, Scottish Wildlife Trust, farmers, forestry enterprises, tenants, and crofters are a few examples. You can see from the public valuation roll on the Scottish Assessors Association website that these occupiers have also appealed several of their valuations.

The Bill did not provide adequate time for the Assessors to identify and value the shooting rights and deer forests sufficiently. This resulted in some rates being applied which do not reflect reality. The level of appeals has been similar to that for other sectors such as pubs, shops and hotels.

We would be delighted to meet with you to discuss the contribution that our members make in the Highlands including deer management and adding economic value.

Yours sincerely

Katy Dickson

Head of Policy 

Click here to open a PDF copy of our letter.