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House of Commons Hansard

Food and Drink Sector: Industrial Strategy

07 December 2017
Volume 632
  • 10. What steps he is taking to support the food and drink sector in line with the industrial strategy. [902799]

  • I am delighted that the industrial strategy White Paper, which sets out plans to boost productivity and earnings across the UK, recognises the importance of the food and drink sector, which is why we have announced a new food and drink sector council as part of the strategy.

  • I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. He will be more aware than most that, owing to the quality of the product, the seafood processing industry in my constituency is less concerned about access to markets after we leave the EU than it is about access to labour. What discussions has he had with representatives of the Scottish seafood processing industry or, indeed, the Home Office to address such concerns?

  • There is no better champion of the Scottish fish processing industry than my hon. Friend, and it was thanks to his work that I was able to attend a roundtable in Aberdeen a couple of months ago, at which fish processors were able to put to me their specific demands. Since then, I have talked to the Home Secretary and the Immigration Minister about precisely those issues. I must say that were it not for my hon. Friend, that argument would not be happening at the heart of Government and it would not be being heard and acted upon. He is a brilliant advocate, and the people of Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Mintlaw, Turriff and the other communities in his constituency are exceptionally lucky to have him.

  • The hon. Member for Northampton South (Andrew Lewer) has just waved at the Chair, which may be analogous to, although not quite the same as, the conventional method of bobbing, but I am going to deduce that the hon. Gentleman is interested in contributing to our proceedings.

  • 16. Thank you, Mr Speaker; I am on a learning curve here. My constituency features a small bespoke brewery called Phipps, which is right next to the giant Carlsberg plant. Such a juxtaposition illustrates the vast range in brewing, and in the food and drink sector more widely, so will producers of all sizes be catered for within a sector deal in the industrial strategy? [902807]

  • Absolutely. We all know that Carlsberg is primarily a brewer, but if Carlsberg did MPs, my hon. Friend would be the premium brand—fizzy with a great head and always a pleasure to spend time with of an evening. He is absolutely right that we need to ensure not only that major brewers can invest in this country, but that premium artisanal brewers have their interests represented, and that is what the industrial strategy will do.

  • All that remains is for the Secretary of State to congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his characteristic acuity, which I know is a preferred phrase of the right hon. Gentleman. No doubt it will be in evidence at the next oral questions—we very much hope so.