UK

Kate Forbes pledges SNP will protect Scottish salmon industry

The Deputy First Minister will visit the largest haulage company for the Scottish salmon and seafood industry.

Kate Forbes said food exports are the ‘backbone’ of the Scottish economy
Kate Forbes said food exports are the ‘backbone’ of the Scottish economy (Jane Barlow/PA)

Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes has pledged the SNP will protect Scottish food industries like salmon producers.

On Saturday, she will say that SNP MPs at Westminster will defend the interests of Scotland’s food and drink sector from the impact of Brexit.

She will visit DFDS Logistics in Larkhall, South Lanarkshire, which is the largest haulage company for the Scottish salmon and seafood industry.

Earlier this week trade body Salmon Scotland published its own manifesto ahead of the General Election, calling for an improvement in the UK’s relationship with the EU and less red tape for supply chains in the UK and on the continent.

Scottish salmon exports were worth £581 million last year.

Ahead of her visit, Ms Forbes said: “Our world-famous food and drink exports are the backbone of Scotland’s economy, supporting thousands of jobs, bolstering our tourism sector and leading the way in UK exports – no thanks to the trade nightmare that is Brexit.

“Since the moment we left the European Union, from workforce shortages to dodgy international trade deals, Brexit has spelled nothing but disaster for food and drink industries across Scotland, who have paid a hard price for a Brexit we didn’t vote for.

“Neither Labour nor the Tories are prepared or willing to reverse the damage that Brexit has unleashed on our vital food and drink sector, which is why a vote for the SNP on the 4 July is so important, so we can make sure that our world-leading industries aren’t forgotten by a Westminster Government that ignores Scotland’s interests.”

Responding to Ms Forbes’ comments, Scottish Conservative shadow rural affairs spokeswoman Rachael Hamilton said: “The SNP have no interest in supporting Scottish food, drink or hospitality.

“That is reflected by their mistreatment of these industries over the years.

“The SNP want to join the hated Common Fisheries Policy and hand control of our fishing abroad.

“A botched attempt at implementing HPMAs sent shockwaves through an important part of Scotland’s economy.

“And hospitality businesses were snubbed by the SNP who refused to pass on rates relief adopted by the UK Government.

“The nationalists must think fishermen and processors are zipped up the back. They will never accept this spin that the SNP are on their side.”