Call for as­sur­ances on Scot­land’s fish­ing and forestry

The Herald - - POLITICS - LEWIS MCKEN­ZIE

THE UK Gov­ern­ment must give de­tails on how Scot­land’s forestry and fish­ing sec­tors will be funded after Brexit, said Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing.

Ahead of a meet­ing be­tween the Depart­ment for the En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (De­fra) and the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions, Mr Ewing said fund­ing de­ci­sions must be made to give greater clar­ity.

Un­der cur­rent ar­range­ments, both sec­tors re­ceive in­vest­ment from EU fund­ing schemes such as the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund (EMFF), and fund­ing known as Pil­lar 2 Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment cash for the forestry sec­tor.

Mr Ewing said: “The po­ten­tial neg­a­tive im­pact of Brexit on Scot­land’s ru­ral econ­omy is be­com­ing clearer all the time.

“That’s in stark con­trast to the lack of clar­ity be­ing pro­vided by the UK Gov­ern­ment in re­sponse to my re­quests for guar­an­tees that a fair level of fund­ing to our fish­er­men and foresters will be pro­vided by the Trea­sury, post-brexit, to re­place cur­rent fund­ing from the Euro­pean Union.

“Al­though I wel­come the UK Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent com­mit­ment to long-term ma­rine fund­ing from 2021 com­pa­ra­ble to the EMFF, it is vi­tal that this sup­port fairly re­flects the size and re­quire­ments of Scot­land’s very sig­nif­i­cant ma­rine sec­tor.

“More fund­ing must be pro­vided, which could de­liver much-needed in­vest­ment in a range of ar­eas, in­clud­ing mar­itime in­fra­struc­ture at ports and har­bours across the coun­try.”

Mr Ewing also stated that fund­ing com­mit­ments should be given to the forestry in­dus­try im­mi­nently, and stated that they must be long-term. “That’s ab­so­lutely es­sen­tial for a sec­tor where projects run for years and decades rather than days and weeks,” he said.

Mr Ewing added: “Un­less re­solved im­me­di­ately, we could see progress on ini­tia­tives like wood­land cre­ation schemes grind­ing to a halt, or be­ing un­wound – im­pact­ing on jobs, the wider ru­ral econ­omy, and cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion tar­gets.

“With only a few months to go, it’s com­pletely un­ac­cept­able that Scot­land is still be­ing kept in the dark.

“Peo­ple’s liveli­hoods are at stake and I in­tend to get an­swers soon.”

„ Brexit will hit Scots ru­ral sec­tors says min­is­ter Fer­gus Ewing.

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