Call for clar­ity for Scots forestry and fish

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

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

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

The sec­tors cur­rently re­ceive in­vest­ment from EU fund­ing schemes such as the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund (EMFF), and Pil­lar 2 Ru­ral Devel­op­ment funds for forestry.

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

“Al­though I wel­come the UK Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent com­mit­ment to long-term marine fund­ing from 2021 com­pa­ra­ble to the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund (EMFF), it is vi­tal that this sup­port re­flects the size and re­quire­ments of Scot­land’s marine sec­tor.”

Mr Ewing also stated that fund­ing com­mit­ments should be given to the forestry in­dus­try im­mi­nently, and stated that they must be long-term.

He added: “The Con­fed­er­a­tion of For­est In­dus­tries (Con­for) re­cently wrote to the en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary to ex­press their alarm that no guar­an­tees have been pro­vided for ‘Pil­lar 2’ fund­ing, which is vi­tal to that sec­tor, to re­main post-Brexit.

“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.”

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