This Government provide wide-ranging support to Scotland’s fishing industry. 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 £20 million already awarded through the UK seafood fund for infrastructure projects will be spent in Scotland.
I welcome the response of my hon. Friend. I also welcome the UK Government’s decision to include seafood processing in ongoing energy support beyond April. However, even before last year’s increases in energy costs, brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there was already support for energy intensive industries to other food processors, such as pork, poultry and milled grain, but not fish. Will my hon. Friend agree to join me—ideally in my constituency of Banff and Buchan—to meet representatives of the seafood processing sector to discuss this shortfall?
May I first pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s work in championing the seafood sector in Scotland? I look forward to visiting his constituency next month to chair the Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group where I will meet industry representatives. 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.
To progress the structure for fisheries in Scotland, surely we have to move on from devolved Scotland to independent Scotland? I am sure the Minister can see that in Ireland there is independent Ireland in the Republic, and devolved Ireland in Northern Ireland. Which does he think is delivering better economically and for fisheries in Ireland: the devolved version or the independent version? Across Europe and across the world, everybody knows the answer—does the Minister?
I am very confident that for all fishing communities across the United Kingdom it is this Government who are delivering best. I am clear that none of the fishing communities in Scotland wishes to go back into the common fisheries policy, which the SNP advocates.
Before we come to Prime Minister’s questions, I would like to point out that a British Sign Language interpretation is available on parliamentlive.tv. I am also pleased to announce that, as part of our efforts to make our activities as accessible as possible, live subtitles are also now available on parliamentlive.tv for all proceedings in this Chamber.
I welcome some special guests who are observing our proceedings today, Madam President of the German Bundestag and the deputy Mayor of Kyiv and colleagues. You are most welcome.