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Sporting businesses in Scotland have been assured that COVID-19 financial support will be made available in the near future following a concerted lobbying campaign by field sports organisations.
During a teleconference with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) and the Scottish Country Sports Tourism Group (SCSTG) last week, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism Fergus Ewing MSP made clear that sporting businesses had been ‘inadvertently excluded’ from much-needed support to contend with the pandemic.
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron is one of many who will welcome the news after supporting calls for sporting businesses to receive government assistance during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Cameron gave strong backing to a motion that was submitted to the Scottish Parliament by fellow Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser which emphasised the importance of the industry to rural Scotland.
Mr Cameron said: ‘No one can doubt the contribution that gamekeepers, ghillies and estate staff make to rural communities across the Highlands and Islands.
‘Like other sectors, country sport businesses and the people who rely on them for employment, are facing unprecedented challenges which threaten their jobs and way of life.
‘The Scottish Government should extend the same support to them that it does to other business sectors which require help to see them through this crisis. They must not be overlooked.’
Mr Ewing has assured the BASC and SCSTG that details of the appropriate grants will be passed on to field sports organisations in due course for onward dissemination to sporting businesses in need.