A senior Westminster minister is to visit Banff and Buchan later this month to chair a meeting of the Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group and meet industry representatives to discuss support for the Scottish processing sector, reports Tim Oliver.

John Lamont, parliamentary under-secretary of state for Scotland, told Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid that he would be visiting the region in response to a question about what assessment he had made of ‘the adequacy of government support for the Scottish fishing industry’.

He said the government provides ‘wide-ranging support’ to Scotland’s fishing industry, adding: “The processing and preserving of fish was recognised as an energy and trade-intensive sector in the government’s energy bill discount scheme, and almost half the £20m already awarded through the UK Seafood Fund for infrastructure projects will be spent in Scotland.”

David Duguid welcomed the government’s decision to include seafood processing in ongoing energy support beyond April. But he pointed out that even before last year’s increases in energy costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, support for energy-intensive industries was already being provided to other food processors, such as pork, poultry and milled grain, but not fish. He asked the minister to visit Scotland to discuss the shortfall.

Agreeing to the visit, John Lamont said: “The UK government’s energy-intensive industries compensation scheme supports industries exposed to significant risk of carbon leakage and is targeted at the most electricity-intensive sectors that are competing in international markets.

“Any industries not included in this scheme can still benefit from the government’s energy bill relief scheme and the energy bill discount scheme.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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