Alas­dair Al­lan, MSP, SNP (bot­tom)

The Oban Times - - News -

THE Scot­tish Par­lia­ment voted by 106 votes to eight for a mo­tion back­ing “Scot­land and the rest of the UK re­main­ing part of the EU”.

More than 300,000 Scot­tish jobs were es­ti­mated to be di­rectly and in­di­rectly as­so­ci­ated with ex­ports to the EU in 2011.

The EU re­ceived 42 per cent of Scot­land’s in­ter­na­tional ex­ports in 2014, worth more than £11 bil­lion.

Tourists from other EU coun­tries spent around £ 800 mil­lion in Scot­land or about 40 per cent of to­tal in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tor spend.

Scot­land will re­ceive £ 3.5 bil­lion to im­ple­ment the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy (CAP) in Scot­land un­til 2020 – with £2.8 bil­lion go­ing di­rect to crofters and farm­ers. Scot­tish seafood and marine sec­tors will re­ceive £ 81 mil­lion in di­rect as­sis­tance through the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund be­tween 2014 and 2020.

With less than a month un­til the polls open for the EU ref­er­en­dum, I be­lieve it is im­por­tant to be clear about the many ways in which the EU ben­e­fits Scot­land’s is­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Is­land crofters and farm­ers re­ceive mil­lions in fund­ing from Europe, with ac­cess to a sin­gle mar­ket of 500 mil­lion peo­ple cre­at­ing huge trad­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for is­land food and drink pro­duc­ers. It is far from clear how this would be repli­cated if we were not in the EU.

Tourism plays a vi­tal role in the is­lands’ econ­omy. Free move­ment makes it eas­ier for tourists from the rest of the EU to visit Scot­land, with around 17,000 a year choos­ing to visit the isles, spend­ing mil­lions of pounds while here. It also pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple with much-needed skills to come and con­trib­ute to our com­mu­ni­ties and econ­omy.

There are many things that are wrong with the EU – such as the way that the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy has been im­ple­mented – and I won’t for a mo­ment pre­tend the EU is a per­fect in­sti­tu­tion. But I take the view that the only way to change Europe is to take an ac­tive and pos­i­tive role in Europe.

That is why I will be vot­ing on June 23 to en­sure Scot­land and the UK re­main part of the EU.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.