There was coverage in today’s The Guardian, Daily Mail, Reuters, Scotsman, Scottish Daily Mail, Press and Journal and BBC Reality Check of our announcement of up to £23 million to support fishing businesses.
The Environment Secretary was also interviewed on the announcement for BBC Radio Scotland and ITV West Country and an opinion article from the Minister for Scotland David Duguid was published today in the Scotsman.
We have announced funding for fish exporters most adversely affected by the COVID pandemic and the challenges of adjusting to new export requirements, which has resulted in delays to trade.
This reflects the unique circumstances of the industry. They have had the most significant new requirements to adjust to, and even a short delay can lead to goods perishing– at a time when the industry is facing lower market prices and demand due to the pandemic.
The UK Government has been working closely with the seafood industry and individual businesses to support them through this period and to ensure that any errors or problems are tackled as early as possible.
Support will be paid retrospectively to cover losses since 1 January 2021, with claims of up to £100,000 available. Defra and HMRC will also be offering targeted, proactive and hands on support to help these businesses meet the new requirements. This includes a new training package and focused workshop sessions.
The funding will be open to fishing businesses across the UK that export to the EU and be administered by the Marine Management Organisation. The Government will be consulting industry across the UK and working with the devolved administrations on the eligibility criteria.
This follows continuous engagement with the Scottish Government on the issues facing seafood exporters in Scotland – the Environment Secretary also spoke with Scottish Ministers yesterday.
We have also provided nearly £200 million to the devolved Scottish Government to prepare for leaving the EU, to minimise disruption and guarantee business readiness.
We are aware that there have been some issues at hubs in Scotland where exports are grouped together under ‘groupage’ arrangements and are working to resolve this.
While this is primarily the responsibility of the devolved Scottish Government - the UK Government has provided two specialist certifiers to support Food Standards Scotland and DFDS over the last week.
An experienced certifying officer from Defra is also currently in Lanarkshire supporting Official Veterinarians with the issuing of health certificates.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice said:
This £23 million scheme will provide crucial support for fishermen and seafood exporters, who have experienced delays and a lack of demand for fish from the restaurant industry in the UK and Europe.
We are continuing to work closely with the fishing and aquaculture sectors to make sure that they are supported, and can continue to fish whilst contributing to the economies of our coastal communities.