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Change of heart

Rural areas spared as grants given to country sports

Country Sports were omitted from original scheme

Scotland’s country sports tourism businesses which have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic can now apply for grant funding of up to £25,000 after being excluded from original Scottish Government funding support.

The announcement comes after Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the rural business organisation, approached three Cabinet ministers warning that the sector’s omission risked a longer-term impact on rural communities.

Country sports tourism businesses will now be able to apply to the Scottish Government’s Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund.

Grants of up to £25,000 can be accessed in addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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The Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund is for small companies which are ineligible for other COVID-19 government grant support.

Stephen Young, head of policy at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Scottish Government for listening to our concerns and rectifying the error of missing out this important arm of Scotland’s tourism sector.

“Country sports tourism businesses play a crucial role in rural Scotland. They employ local people and attract visitors who boost the rural economy and provide a livelihood for locals.

“If these businesses do not survive this pandemic, it could mean irreparable damage for the people who live and work in these communities.”

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