Scottish seafood processors will benefit from the UK government’s £23m compensation package but nothing for hard-hit fishers
It has emerged that only Scottish seafood processors will benefit from the UK government’s £23 million compensation package, meaning hard-hit fishing vessel owners get nothing.
Yesterday, Gail Ross MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, questioned Scotland’s Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing on the UK government’s compensation package for the seafood sector after being told that the financial support will be targeted at processors rather than fishermen.
Mrs Ross said she has many constituents involved in the fishing industry and wants to know how the £23 million in compensation will replace the income they have lost after being hit by Brexit-related bureaucracy and border delays following the end of the transition period.
UK seafood exporters have struggled to get their goods onto vital EU markets since the turn of the year and there have been reports of businesses in Scotland losing more than £1 million a day in oversea sales due to what has become known as ‘Brexit Carnage’ throughout the industry.
The SNP MSP questioned Scotland’s Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism during yesterday’s virtual ministerial statement on the impact on Scotland’s rural economy of leaving the EU.
Her question to Mr Ewing was, “Can the cabinet secretary explain to my constituents in the fishing industry, of which there are many, how the UK compensation scheme will replace the income that they have lost over the past few weeks?”
Mr Ewing replied:
“I had a brief discussion with George Eustice, who gave me very brief details of the scheme, a couple of hours before it was announced in public. The little that the UK Government has told us indicates that the fishermen compensation scheme will actually exclude fishermen. It will be the first scheme in history that was designed to support a group of people who will be ineligible for any support therefrom.
“Any support will be only for losses incurred by processors. I am pleased that some compensation will be paid, and I fought long and hard with the UK Government for that. My understanding is that the UK Government will not pay a penny piece to any fishermen anywhere in the UK for the losses that they have sustained through being unable to ply their trade because of Brexit.”