Fisheries Secretary, Fergus Ewing MSP, has hit out at marginalisation of the Scottish fishing and seafood industry
Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary, Fergus Ewing has accused the Conservative Party at Westminster of marginalising the Scottish fishing and seafood industries.
The SNP Minister claimed that the funding of £14 million pledged to the Scottish seafood industry was ‘paltry’ and that the fishing industry should receive their rightful share of the £100 million promised in compensation for the broken Brexit deal.
Last week, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged £100 million to the UK fishing industry and this week he promised a further £23 million to support the seafood industry being impacted by border delays.
£14 million of this seafood fund has been allocated to Scottish producers but no plans have been put forward by the Westminster government on how the £100 million will be allocated throughout the UK fleet.
In a series of tweets today, Mr Ewing said:
“The Tories at Westminster will increasingly side-line our interests, we are being made small and isolated from our closest and most important overseas trading partners and all the gains made in twenty-one years of devolution for our rural and coastal communities will be reversed.
“We have a right to expect £62 million for marine/fisheries funding, instead of the paltry £14m promised. We have a right to expect our share of the £100m promised to sweeten the awful deal for fisheries to come to Scotland for us to determine our investment priorities and needs.
“They promised to at least match EU funding. As matters stand, Scotland is set to lose-out on £170.1 millions of equivalent CAP funding through to 2025 that rightly should be spent on our producers and rural communities. The UK Government blithely dismisses all these impacts as “teething problems”, hoping that no one realises that these are permanent changes, creating permanent extra costs and burdens on our businesses, threatening jobs and livelihoods.
“Behind the headlines, the commentary, and the images, we should not forget there are real people, with families, employees and communities all depending on them.
“The Scottish Government and Scottish food and drink stakeholders repeatedly warned the UK Government that businesses needed a grace period to prepare for these fundamental changes – the UK Government continually ignored these warnings.
“Many will already be aware of the challenges being faced by Scottish seafood producers. There have been similar challenges in the meat sector where new trade barriers have led to significant reductions in the volume of Scottish beef and lamb exports to Europe.
“The UK government’s Trade & Co-operation Agreement with the EU has erected significant barriers to trade for Scottish producers and businesses. There is real economic harm being caused with many now extremely worried about the short -&-long term effects on their businesses & sectors.”