Our export strategy and export support service have cross-Whitehall support. The “Made in the UK, Sold to the World” campaign will help to reach more than 67 million consumers, buyers and business leaders in 24 key markets. Our nine trade commissioner regions, our 40 Prime Minister’s trade envoys and our international market advisers are all helping businesses to exploit major market openings through our free trade agreements.
In the light of recent price hikes on fuel and ambitious net zero targets, seaport connectivity and infrastructure which allow goods, especially perishable items, to travel quickly are vital to businesses that export or wish to do so. With hundreds of thousands of jobs reliant on accessing the European market, does the Minister agree that the Scottish Government should make serious strategic efforts to re-establish a direct ferry link for freight between Scotland and mainland Europe? That would also provide resilience for international trade, given the ongoing pressure on ports in the south-east of England.
The hon. Gentleman is passionate about seeing ferry services restored from Scottish ports to mainland Europe, and he is absolutely right. Although it is very much a devolved issue, I am more than happy to encourage the Scottish Government to pursue it. It is a genuine issue, because the ability to build additional routes into the UK for freight builds resilience into the market and helps us to alleviate pressure points, particularly in moments of disruption across the straits. Importantly, as the hon. Gentleman says, it helps to reduce the carbon miles for haulage firms as they take goods from the straits to Scotland.