Boris Johnson has promised £23 million in compensation fund to the UK seafood industry but only if they can prove a genuine claim
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised £23 million in aid to the seafood industry but only if they can prove they have a genuine claim.
The claim will have to be shown to have been “no fault of their own” meaning that claims where paperwork was incorrectly filled-in or unsigned might not qualify.
Boris Johnson, speaking at a vaccine centre in Oxfordshire, also claimed the UK would control “all the fish” in UK waters after 2026, despite the Trade and Cooperation Agreement stating otherwise.
At the same time the Prime Minister is promising a ‘sea of opportunity’ it has been claimed in many quarters, that rather than breaking free from the Common Fisheries Policy, the UK fishing industry is coupled to it, whilst no loner having any influence on its policy.
If the UK should try to go its own way and exclude EU fishing boats from UK waters post 2026, the EU has the right to impose harsh penalties in retaliation.
No one in the fishing industry is denying that COVID-19 is not influencing fish sales on the Continental markets, but a litany of red-tape imposed by the hard Brexit trade agreement has been causing the border deals at UK ports, but Johnson has put an emphasis on the fact that the demand in restaurants for UK fish on the Continent is somehow to blame rather than the Government’s lack of preparation for Brexit.
New checks and paperwork, caused by the UK leaving the EU single market and the customs union, are causing massive delays and growing anger amongst fishermen, seafood producers and hauliers.
And he added: “In just five years’ time, five and a half years’ time, we will have access to all the fish in all of our coastal waters.”
Talking about the £23 million compensation fund, the PM said that seafood companies could access the funds when it’s not their fault.
On the issues facing the industry he said, “I sympathise very, very much, and I understand their frustrations and I understand their concerns but obviously things have been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic Unfortunately the demand in restaurants on the Continent for UK fish has not been what it was before the pandemic just because the restaurants has been closed for so long and that is one of the problems with what we are all trying to deal with.
“Unfortunately, this has been driven in large part by the pandemic and we’ve put in place all sorts of measures, I’ve just been saying, to help businesses throughout the pandemic.
“What I am also saying is, where businesses through no fault of their own find bureaucratic delays, difficulties getting their through whether there is a genuine, willing buyer on the other side of the Channel, then there is a £23 million compensation fund that we have set-up and we will make sure they get help.”
Earlier today, up to 50 British seafood hauliers converged on London to stage a protest outside Whitehall to highlight post-Brexit problems they are facing.
The PM was speaking after 14 people attending the protest was issued with fixed penalty notices for ‘Unnecessary Travel’.