Rural and Environment
Fisheries Secretary responds to UK Government seafood funding announcement
Commenting on the opening of the UK Government’s Seafood Disruption Support Scheme, Fisheries Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“After three weeks of waiting for detail, it is disappointing and beyond any rational explanation that this new compensation scheme will not help the vast majority of fishing vessels who continue to face the cost of the disruption caused by the botched Brexit deal. Just one example is the explicit exclusion of crab claws, which the UK Government told companies they could not export – advice which was wrong and cost the industry a month in lost exports. This is not good enough and the UK Government must urgently identify how they will support these businesses, and others who are caught up in the ongoing mess that Brexit has created.
“As feared and predicted, the new trading relationship with the EU is having a catastrophic impact on Scotland’s food and drink export industry. This UK Government approach appears to be based on its insistence that the disruption is merely teething problems, demonstrated by the scheme only covering January when the reality is that access to markets in the EU will be permanently more difficult and more costly. We previously had every UK business dynamically aligned with the EU but now we have the worst of all worlds: no dynamic alignment, no agreement on equivalence, no single market and no customs union, in addition to 3rd country status where it is being demonstrated daily how badly UK businesses have been let down.
“In the absence of detail from the UK Government, and from our understanding that theirs would be the first fisheries support scheme to exclude fishermen, we have stepped in to announce a £7.75 million package of support for fishers, aquaculture businesses and ports and harbours who have been hit hardest by Brexit and the continuing impacts of COVID-19. This funding will help businesses cope with the immediate challenges while giving them the space to understand the changes they need to make to adapt to these new tougher, trading realities.”