UK Government fails to guarantee post Brexit support for Scotland’s fishing community


SNP press Conservative ministers on fall-out from Brexit vote

THE UK GOVERNMENT has refused to guarantee €100m of funding pledged to Scotland’s fisheries community due to the risks caused by the UK vote to leave the EU. 

UK Government Brexit minister David Davis failed to give any guarantees that expected funding for maritime and fisheries interests would be delivered, as he told parliament “it is not for me to make commitments” on industry finances.

The minister was faced with a deluge of questions over Brexit risks and uncertainties as he made his first statement to parliament on the referendum result.

Hopes within the fishing community, especially over the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, led many to back the Leave campaign. However, the sector has yet to receive any guarantees that even current finances to the sector will be delivered. 

SNP MP for Banff and Buchan Dr Eilidh Whiteford questioned Davis as part of a raucous session in the Palace of Westminster, where sceptical MPs heckled the government over the lack of its Brexit plan.

Dr Whiteford said: “Scottish fishing communities were due to receive more than €100 million of European maritime and fisheries fund support between now and 2023. The Secretary of State has committed to supporting our agricultural communities by guaranteeing that CAP funding will be matched until 2020. 

“Will he make a similar commitment today to our fishing communities to honour the maritime and fisheries funding that has been allocated in the current round?”

However, Davis passed the buck. 

He replied: “Sadly, I did not make that commitment. The chancellor made the commitment and with great respect, it is not for me to make commitments on behalf of the treasury. We will place in the library a copy of the letter in which the chancellor laid out the underpinning of the CAP [Common Agricultural Policy], structural and science funds and so on. 

“He made it clear that that was effectively his decision until the autumn statement. I will report to him what the hon. Lady said so that he is at least aware of her concerns before that statement.”

Nicola Sturgeon: “seismic changes” threaten Scotland’s economy and democracy

There remains continued uncertainty for the financial, exports, manufacturing, agriculture, science and universities sectors and EU nationals as a result of the Brexit vote.

While the UK cabinet held a secretive ‘brainstorming’ session on Brexit last week, there are no clear signs so far on what its negotiating position will be.

A significant contradiction remains on the Tory hopes to enforce tighter border control, while maintaining free trade.

Rhetorically, new prime minister Theresa May claims both are priorities for the Tory Government. However, the 27 remaining EU states say freedom of movement is a non-negotiable condition when it comes to membership of the EU single market for goods and services.

Picture courtesy of FearfulStills

Check out what people are saying about how important CommonSpace is. Pledge your support today.