Isles MP steps in to help fish­ing skip­pers

The Oban Times - - News -

WEST­ERN Isles (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) MP An­gus Bren­dan Mac­Neil is writ­ing to the UK gov­ern­ment’s im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter, Brandon Lewis, call­ing on him to step in to help the West Coast fish­ing in­dus­try as they strug­gle with a short­age of crew.

In March, Mr Mac­Neil crit­i­cised the Home Of­fice for fail­ing to con­sider rein­tro­duc­ing a scheme which would al­low non-Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area peo­ple to work in the in­dus­try.

Mr Mac­Neil said: ‘The Home Of­fice sug­gested that the rein­tro­duc­tion of a scheme which would al­low non-Euro­pean Eco­nomic Area work­ers would “en­trench a re­liance on nonEEA labour” – a sug­ges­tion which is, frankly, ridicu­lous.

‘The in­ac­tion from the Home Of­fice is hurt­ing the West Coast Scot­tish fish­ing in­dus­try as they strug­gle to crew their ves­sels and I know of men des­per­ate to re­turn to the West Coast to boats they once worked on.

‘This af­fects North­ern Ireland too and I would ex­pect the Tories now to make th­ese sen­si­ble con­ces­sions to com­mu­ni­ties in Scot­land and North­ern Ireland, which would in­crease do­mes­tic tax rev­enue and also en­able peo­ple to send money home to the Philip­pines.

‘Skip­pers need crew and they have peo­ple from non-Euro­pean Eco­nomic Ar­eas ready and will­ing to work – but the UK gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to turn a blind eye and reck­lessly ig­nore the cri­sis hit­ting our fish­ing in­dus­try.

‘I am, there­fore, writ­ing to Brandon Lewis to in­vite him to come and meet rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the fish­ing in­dus­try in the West Coast of Scot­land.’

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