Support for country sports tourism businesses – our letter to the Press & Journal

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Scottish Land & Estates has written to the editor of the Press & Journal following publication of an article containing statements portraying an inaccurate picture of the contribution of country sports to Scotland’s economy.

Letter:

Sir, 

Businesses involved in Scotland’s country sports tourism sector are vital for the sustainability of our rural communities. Not only do they generate income which supports a wide range of rural employment, these businesses also play a vital role in land management to help Scotland meet its targets on carbon capture, clean energy and woodland planting as well as sustaining a huge range of wildlife including rare birds, insects and mammals. 
 
These are legitimate business enterprises and in the same way as they contribute to the public purse through mechanisms such as non-domestic rates, corporation tax and VAT, it is only fair that financial support is then made available during the current crisis in the same way as it is to other businesses.
 
John Finnie MSP’s comments exhibit his own prejudices against this vital rural sector. In the case of grouse shooting, the recent government commissioned Werritty review reported that around six gamekeeper jobs would be maintained for the same area of land that would need one shepherd if used for farming. Both are valuable parts of the rural economy, as recognised by the Scottish Government as well as politicians from other parties. It is disappointing that Mr Finnie does not wish to support these valued businesses which make such an important contribution to our economy. 

Sarah-Jane Laing
Chief Executive, Scottish Land & Estates