*Information on our support pages is correct as of 1:50pm on 31 March 2020*
Coronavirus (Covid-19): Support for Scottish Land & Estates members
As concerns continue to grow regarding the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19), we will monitor all information available to support rural businesses and communities and will use this page to share the most relevant guidance and updates.
As of 17 March, our colleagues at SLE are now primarily working from home, following government recommendations. We will, for now, have a skeleton-crew in the office, who are able to forward calls if necessary. If you need to contact a specific colleague, you can find email addresses on the Our Staff page. We are ready to continue offering our services to members. Whether it’s a question for our policy team or a query for our membership or regional teams, we will continue to offer members a great service.
There will be challenging times ahead for our rural communities, businesses and for wider society. The most important thing we can do right now is the heed the advice of health officials. Please follow all governmental and official guidelines to help make sure yourself, your staff and your communities remain safe.
Recent updates and SLE activity
- On Thursday 26 March we held a conference call with Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism, and Mairi Gougeon, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment to brief them on the range of impacts felt across our members businesses. Ahead of this meeting we provided a briefing note to Mr Ewing and Ms Gougeon to set out SLE’s position on the key issues experienced by rural businesses. Read our briefing note.
- On Thursday 26 March we wrote an open letter to Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning, to express concerns regarding the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on landlords ability to fully prepare for the introduction of the energy efficiency regulations. We were delighted to hear the Scottish Government’s announcement that they intend to delay implementation of the regulations until “the current COVID-19 situation comes to an end”. Read our open letter to Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.
- On Friday 27 March we wrote an open letter to Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, regarding gaps in the support for rural businesses who are negatively impacted by the current pandemic. Read our open letter to Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance.
- On Friday 27 March we took part in an industry-wide conference call with DEFRA Secretary of State George Eustice MP. The key issues discussed covered the seasonal labour supply, key worker movement, and the UK Government’s response to market disruption.
- We are in regular dialogue with the Scotland Office to keep them up to date on the key issues affecting our members as a result of coronavirus.
There have already been incidents of coronavirus scams reported across the UK with evidence of fraudsters targeting members of the public, as well as firms of all sizes, with emails, texts, telephone calls and social media messages offering advice and treatments for coronavirus.
The list of new scams associated with the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is growing by the day with fraudsters setting up fake websites to sell products or bogus websites asking for donations for victims or promoting awareness and prevention tips. Cold callers have been contacting organisations suggesting they must have specific measures in place by a certain deadline.
Police Scotland has provided information on its website on how the public can protect themselves.
A few tips are:
- Be vigilant and on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly.
- Be aware that identity cards can be faked – it is best to phone the company to verify their identity.
- Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for or offering help – they may not be genuine.
- Never provide any personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth – scammers can use this information to steal your identity.
- Never give people your bank details if they come to your door and never give your debit or credit card and PIN to anyone.
- Never feel pressured into making a decision on the spot. Any legitimate trader/helper will be happy to return at a later date
- Be skeptical if you receive an email, text or WhatsApp message about the Coronavirus, and never click on any attachments or links
- Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into donating money, and never make donations by cash or gift card, or send money through transfer agents such as Western Union or Moneygram
Additional topics relevant to members:
Information for businesses *Last updated 10:00am, 03 April 2020
Our overview of information which we think will be of value to members, as it is released.
Information for employees and employers *Last updated 5:45pm, 30 March 2020
Information which is useful for anyone who works for a business or organisation, or who employs staff.
Information for landlords and tenants *Last updated 5:30pm, 02 April 2020
Information which will be relevant to those who let or who stay in rented accommodation.
Information from HMRC *Last updated 5:00pm, 17 March 2020
An outline of updates from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.
Updates from the EU *Last updated 5:00pm, 17 March 2020
While we are in the transitional period following Brexit, changes made within the European Union will still apply to the UK. We'll provide any relevant updates here.
Frequently Asked Questions *Last updated 11:00am, 02 April 2020
We have compiled answers to a list of frequently asked questions we have received. This list will be revisited and and amended in the future. If there is a question you would like an answer to which is not covered here, please don't hesitate to get in touch (member log-in required).
- UK Government advice in relation to travel can be found here.
- Test numbers for Covid-19 can be found here and are updated daily.
- The latest NHS updates on the Coronavirus can be found here.
- Are your friends, neighbours & family ok? Are you ok? Make time to talk. Remember, Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution's (RSABI) helpline - 0300 1114166 - is open 365 days a year, 7am to 11pm.
- Different councils have various definitions of terms such as "key workers". If you have any concerns regarding terminology in your area, contact your Regional Support Officer. If you need help in finding out who your Regional Support Officer is, contact us directly.
- Advice for those with symptoms or diagnosis of COVID-19 is available here.
Scottish Land & Estates events
Following government guidance on the Coronavirus (Covid-19), a number of our events are being postponed. If possible, we will reschedule these events for a later date. Members who have booked places for these events will be contacted and informed of the new dates when these are confirmed. We ask that members DO NOT turn up for these events unless told otherwise, as they will not be going ahead on the previously established dates.
The following events have been postponed:
- Member's seminar: Werritty report on grouse moor management - Peebles - 17 March 2020
- Walk & Talk: award-winning Ogilvy Spirits - 20 March 2020
- Roundtable: Scottish Borders Council discussion on Local Development Plan and City Deal - 23 March 2020
- Member's seminar: Werritty report on grouse moor management - London - 24 March 2020
- Walk & Talk: Improving the energy performance of traditional stone-built houses - Haddo Estate - 24 March 2020
- Walk & Talk: award-winning Dumfries House - 21 April 2020
- Walk & Talk: Habitat restoration in the upper Dee catchment – Invercauld Estate - 6 May 2020
- Walk & Talk: Diversification into the wedding industry, Rosebery Steading - 7 May 2020
- Walk & Talk: Award-winning Sweethope Farm - 12 May 2020
- Walk & Talk: award-winning Durie Farms - 19 May 2020
- Annual Conference – gearing up for change in rural Scotland - 27 May 2020
- Walk & Talk: Award-winning Scourie Hotel - 3 June 2020
- Workshop: Bees! with Buglife & Wildlife Estates Scotland - 16 June 2020
The following events have been cancelled:
- Members’ reception @ Royal Highland Show - 18 June 2020
This list will be updated as required, so please check back on a regular basis. If you wish to receive further information about the status of a particular event, please email our Events Coordinator Jane Laing - email@example.com