The Greens have been posting leaflets for May’s Scottish Parliament elections telling potential voters they will campaign to phase out grouse shooting in Scotland.
Grouse shooting supports 2500 full time Scottish Jobs, creating more per hectare employment than forestry and woodland schemes which also require more public subsidy (1).
However, in a flyer, Maggie Chapman, who is running for the Greens in the North East region is quoted as saying that grouse moor owners averagely pay less than the minimum wage.
She is also quoted as saying that grouse moors cover up to a fifth of Scotland.
Gamekeepers point towards research into grouse moor socioeconomics by SRUC and James Hutton Institute, which was commissioned by Scottish Government and dismisses the claims.
The reports, published in 2018 and 2020, state that grouse moors cover, as a maximum, up to one tenth of Scotland’s uplands, with authors acknowledging this is likely to be less.
Gamekeepers’ wages vary across full-time and part-time employment, with full-time positions often providing a home and vehicle as part of employee benefits.
The majority of gamekeepers are also providing unsubsidised deer and predator management as part of their roles on grouse moors.
“The Green Party have the right to campaign on whatever platform they choose. However, if they are going to propose measures which will put 2500 skilled workers and their families on the dole, they shouldn’t be trying to dupe voters on the basis of inaccurate information,” said Scottish Gamekeepers Association Chairman, Alex Hogg.
“The Scottish Government’s report into grouse moor economics was paid for by the Scottish tax payers. It seems the Greens have selectively chosen to ignore it.
“If voters are to be able to make informed choices and for confidence in the Parliament to be maintained, surely politicians have at least some duty to present a semblance of fact.
“This is especially true if what they are proposing is the destruction of peoples’ livelihoods and a way of life which is part of the country’s cultural heritage.”
The Green Party leaflet is critical of grouse moor owners for supporting less than 3000 Scottish jobs.
However, the 2020 research, commissioned by Scottish Government, demonstrated that driven grouse moors provided more jobs, per hectare, than all the other moorland land uses which the authors studied.
The Electoral Commission was critical of political parties in its review of the 2019 General Election urging candidates to take greater responsibility for how their campaigns impacted public trust.