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Action needed on export delays

Resilience meeting assesses impact on Scottish businesses.

The Deputy First Minister has been updated on the on-going situation at the Channel Tunnel and the impact it is having on Scottish businesses, following a Scottish Government resilience meeting yesterday.

Scottish businesses from the fishing and food processing sectors are continuing to raise concerns about the impact of delays and potential delays on their businesses. Yesterday’s meeting followed both the First Minister and Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead pressing concerns with the UK Government and calling for action to prioritise fresh produce being exported to the continent.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Scottish businesses, particularly the food sector, are being hard hit by the on-going delays at the Channel Tunnel. Concerns have been raised with us, particularly by the fish processing sector, and the Scottish Government has mobilised our resilience team to monitor the situation, investigate what practical steps can be taken to support those affected and, of course, resolve the situation for Scottish producers.

“The reality is that this is a complex situation which requires a multi-agency response involving both UK and French authorities. As well as addressing the immediate issue around getting vehicles and exports moving again, we also need a long term strategy which responds to the human and humanitarian issue around migration.

“Scottish businesses cannot continue to lose money and orders and we have already asked the UK Government to prioritise exports of perishable fresh produce and I once again call on them to deliver a system which does just that – the Scottish Government stands ready to help in any way that we can.

“The Fisheries Secretary, Richard Lochhead, will be meeting with stakeholders again tomorrow and we will continue to liaise with the industry and the wider business community to consider whether what else can be done to help limit the impact on our economy.

“We will also continue to press the UK Government and French authorities to work together to swiftly resolve the on-going situation regarding migrant incursions as well as the industrial dispute involving ferries.”

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Scottish seafood is the UK’s biggest food export, a quality product that is in demand in markets around the world, with many of our producers exporting to the continent and beyond. The impact the delays at the Channel Tunnel continue to have on their businesses with orders being cancelled and produce being affected is very concerning and I will be taking the opportunity to discuss further with fishing industry leaders when I meet them tomorrow.

“We are liaising closely with the sector and doing what we can to help. However, we really need the UK Government to step up efforts to find a resolution and do more to help the Scottish industry.”

Notes To Editors

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