Pay Cheque report comes up short

Shotgun killed red grouse - Lagopus lagopus scoticus - Scotland.
Shotgun killed red grouse – Lagopus lagopus scoticus – Scotland.

The PACEC reports on the economic value of shooting to the economy have been widely criticised for being inaccurate.

This didn’t stop many Conservative MPs, and a few Liberal Democrats too, quoting the figures from them in responses to many of us in this way:

‘Game management plays an important role in the rural economy, generating income and employment in some of our most remote communities. For example, shooting contributes in the region of £2 billion to the rural economy and supports the equivalent of around 70,000 full-time jobs.’

Let’s take that £2bn figure. let’s just assume that it is correct (and there are plenty of reasons to think it is an over-estimate).

The PACEC report breaks down the number of gun days each year in the UK – there are about 11 million of them (11 million days when an individual shoots a gun for fun). That’s a lot of shooting but about two thirds of those are target shooting – no animals were harmed in the making of those statistics.

So, 3.6 million gun-days were expended on wildfowling, deer stalking, pheasant shooting, pigeon shooting, those Snipe and Woodcock that Chris Packham would like to have a few years off, partridges and a few Ptarmigan and lots of Red Grouse.

I’d guess that shooting those 15-20 million shot Pheasants would make up the largest portion of those days – and then wildfowling? What proportion of the gun days is made up by grouse shooting days? According to the Moorland Association it is about 1200 shooting days for Red Grouse in England and we could assume that is, tops, 10,000 gun days.

So, it strikes me as being a bit off that the following MPs are quoting the £2bn figure when the issue they are supposed to be addressing accounts for only about one thousandth of the activity.


Victoria Atkins MP

Richard Benyon MP

Karen Bradley MP

Alistair Burt MP

Chris Davies MP

David Davies MP

Philip Dunne MP

Liam Fox MP

Cheryl Gillan MP

Chris Green MP

James Heappey MP

Stewart Jackson MP

Andrew Jones MP

Simon Kirby MP

Sir Edward Leigh MP

Dan Poulter MP

Anna Soubry MP

Mel Stride MP

Ed Vaizey MP

…and there are plenty more.

Using the £2bn figure for shooting as a whole in response to a letter on driven grouse shooting is like saying that art is worth billions of pounds and therefore all graffiti are priceless.

Photo: Knuckles - Own work, CC BY 2.5,
Photo: Knuckles – Own work, CC BY 2.5,



5 Replies to “Pay Cheque report comes up short”

  1. Don’t tell ’em, it’s good to see them shoot themselves in the feet ….

    Cormack & Rotherham (2014) A review of the PACEC reports (2006 & 2014) estimating net economic benefits from shooting sports in the UK. An evaluation of the two PACEC papers via

    The experts judged PACEC’s reports to be in essence advocacy statements, containing much information that is not testable, robust data, but opinion submitted by a sample with a stake in the outcomes. They identified several methodological weaknesses, omissions and flaws which make the findings of the original reports untenable.

  2. There is probably a billion £ of damage caused by pheasants flying into cars so that can be knocked off the total !

  3. The fact that the counter report is put forward by LACS opens it up to criticism from the other direction, fairly or otherwise. But isn’t it telling that even the Parliamentary Committee has blurred the issue by referring to the petition as being against “grouse shooting” not “driven grouse shooting”?

    The MA’s £52m figure is the one to criticise – and there’s plenty to criticise even there. £52m doesn’t take account of Stewardship payments, nor external costs like flood risk. On their own figures £52m is pathetically small in overall economic terms, and with the external costs added the net value to the economy will be distinctly negative.

    But mainly, its not about money anyway. Some things are priceless. Hen harriers and the rule of law are two such things.

    1. Let’s hope that the cross examination of the so far (?) un-named industry representatives ensure that any figures offered are verifiable. The PI has been asked to take account of the complete financial landscape, not just the convenient generic but detailed specifics.

      This Inquiry needs to be able to demonstrate credibility and simply to allow MPs to filibuster potentially damages Parliamentary ‘impartiality’?

      Wonder what the volume of submissions has been?

      Protect grouse Moors and grouse shooting @ 18,646 signatures has waited 42 days for a defra response. Stalled, but it is still till February to run so if they make the 100k we get a second bite at the cherry by virtue ‘quid pro quo’:)

      BDGS 123,076 …. if just 10% of each group were to submit 3000 words each, MPs each have their ten minutes worth, then we’re in for a treat?

      A fortnight or thereabouts to go, I certainly wish Mark & Jeff ATVB.

  4. There is a case to answer around pheasants being livestock, then when released they are deemed wild birds, then if caught up again at the end of the season they become livestock again.

    Easy enough to ring the birds so insurance companies can be contacted regarding claims.

    One might wonder about the financial issues relating to this ‘livestock’ rearing practice?

    Why would Govt. not help the insurance industry not pass on additional costs to the public?

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