SLE responds to Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee on coronavirus impact

Press Release

In its written response to the UK Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee on the impact of coronavirus on Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, the rural business membership organisation, has said that proper collaboration of governments in the UK is needed for Scotland to thrive post-Covid.

Commenting, Stephen Young, Head of Policy at Scottish Land & Estates said:

“We are very grateful for the funding package and support schemes put together to deal with the pandemic. These have been a vital lifeline for many businesses and individuals. Whilst we fully appreciate that taking swift action was necessary, we would urge the UK Government to fully understand the impact of Covid 19 on diverse rural businesses and work with the Scottish Government to ensure that support meets business needs. In a recent survey of our members who own rural businesses, half of respondents said they would need further government funding in 2020/21 to survive. We also found that although 90% of rural businesses said they can reopen in some capacity, that can’t all do it profitably and work needs to continue to support those businesses.

“We were one of the first organisations to lobby for more flexibility to the UK Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The changes to allow more flexibility will come in from the start of August and will enable more rural businesses in Scotland to make better use of the scheme.

“From this pandemic, we can learn crucial lessons about our food and drink supply chains. The capacity for domestic food production and processing needs to be better understood and improved.

“For Scotland to thrive post-covid, we need to see proper collaboration between the UK and Scottish Governments and for the different requirements and mechanics of rural businesses and communities in Scotland to be taken into account.”

Read our consultation response.