Tuesday, 7 April 2020

CORONAVIRUS LATEST AND SECTOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT

Buses had already been booked from across the country and the show of strength was indicative of feeling.
Members told us they had had enough and were deeply concerned at Government policy direction when it came to rural workers in our sector, from ghillies on the rivers to deer managers on the hills and gamekeepers on the moor. Intended curbs on fox control was also a significant factor in sector thinking.
Since then, the world has changed in so many ways for everyone.
However, as we stated at the time, the SGA will allow you, the members, to have your say in a re-arranged demonstration in the future, whenever it is safe to do so.
Since then we have been working hard on your behalf, despite staff working at home, to get you the proper guidance and information from authorities that you have needed to continue working- where appropriate- or to cut back in this time of emergency.
We will now be working to try to get to the bottom of some of the discrepancies in government support when it comes to our sector with some smaller operations, sadly, being pushed to the brink financially.
Like many sectors, this is going to hit ours hard and people are having to make very difficult decisions, now, which will affect the coming season- and family incomes- despite lack of any certainty on when the world may get back to a semblance of normality.
We have already started the process of trying to encourage some support from government.
One former long-standing member told us yesterday that he finds it unforgivable that, despite our forefathers in the profession playing a prominent role in helping to defend the country in two world wars, often as rear gunners and snipers, that this generation should be denied support at a time of need.
We will do all within our power to try to find ways forward with Government agencies that will not cut deserving, hard working people further adrift at a deeply worrying time.
To help us, we are asking all members to contact us if they are experiencing difficulty, with no access to support. We are not looking for confidential information, just an explanation of the challenges you are facing and what options you have been told you have, or don’t have.
Lots of people are in different circumstances but this will help us to get as rounded a picture as we can of how the sector is bearing up, as a whole, and where the deepest problems lie.
This information will help us in our discussions with Government agencies who, thankfully, are engaging with us and acknowledging that there are problems.
Email is best just now, on info@scottishgamekeepers.co.uk
If calling the office, please be mindful that we are currently down on staff numbers at present and it may take longer than usual to get through. Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

*Thank you to the 133 people who took our website political poll, which ran over the month of March, when our Holyrood demonstration was planned. We have now analysed the data, presented on the page in 2 charts.