British PM Boris Johnson promises £100m fund for UK fisheries
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson side-stepped the issues facing fishermen in Scotland today during Prime Minister’s Question Time and instead focused on blaming the Scottish National Party for the woes of the industry.
Outside of promising £100 million to help the UK fishing industry, the PM did not produce any plan on how it was to be spent or distributed to fishing communities in dire need of assistance. Instead, he attacked SNP policy and criticised the party’s stance on a second independence referendum.
PM Johnson came under pressure as Scottish MP, Ian Blackford of the SNP, asked where is the compensation for the Scottish fishing industry and seafood producers being hit by the delays caused by Brexit disruptions at English ports?
Speaking remotely, Blackford questioned the PM. He explained the situation to the PM that is facing hundreds of businesses involved in Scottish seafood exporting.
Blackford said, “My constituent in Lochaber, a producer and exporter of shellfish is experiencing his worst nightmare.
“After loading a lorry of fresh local seafood on Monday as he’s done for 35 years his driver faced bureaucracy and delays.
“Brexit red tape now means £40,000 of his fresh high-quality produce is lost, unable to be sold.
“Mr Speaker, that £40,000 produce is income for over 100 local families in many remote and fragile communities.
“Can the Prime Minister tell my constituent, where is the “sea of opportunity” that he and his Scottish Tories promised?
Prime Minister Johnson replied “We are putting £100 million into supporting the fishing industry in Scotland and the whole of the UK. And, it is the policy of the Scottish National Party, not just to try to break up the United Kingdom under their hairbrained scheme but also to take Scotland back into the EU and hand back control of Scottish fisheries to Brussels. Thereby throwing away all those opportunities, in a way that I think, the right honourable gentleman himself opposite would say was totally absurd and I am amazed that he continues on this track.”
In reply, Ian Blackstock said, “That answer was an insult to all fishermen that are facing loss today.”
“The reality is, Mr Speaker, a third of the Scottish fishing fleet is “tied-up in harbour”.
“Some boats are landing in Denmark rather than Scotland to avoid “Brexit bureaucracy”.
“Scottish seafood exporters are losing up to one million pounds in sales a day.
“Seafood Scotland say all the extra red tape is “an almost impossible task”. It’s even forced ferry operators to pause load deliveries to the continent.
“Mr Speaker, the European Union have put in place a €5 billion fund to support businesses with the cost of Brexit. Last night it was revealed Ireland is receiving €1 billion of it.
“Can the Prime Minister tell Scottish business when they will be getting the same level of support, and where is the compensation for my constituent that’s losing £40,000 today?”
Instead of addressing the question asked by Mr Blackstock the PM replied that “he continues to advocate the break-up of the Union with the United Kingdom and he continually advocates going back into the European Union even though that would be immensely destructive to the Scottish fishing economy.”
The PM finished by criticising the SNP for using monies for funding a second independence referendum rather than concentrating on the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine.