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Strengthening the Union

Volume 728: debated on Wednesday 22 February 2023

The Government’s commitment to Scotland is best demonstrated by what we are doing on the ground. We are investing more than £2 billion to level up across Scotland and working with the Scottish Government to deliver growth deals and freeports in Scotland.

Scotland is a world leader in food and drink production, especially in higher-end products such as Scotch whisky and seafood—something I have been proud to promote in my role as one of the Prime Minister’s trade envoys. As the UK Government continue to strike new trade agreements, what benefits will the removal of trade barriers have for Scotland?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that important matter and for his efforts in this area. The latest statistics on exports of Scotch whisky and salmon underline how much demand there is for these premium products. The UK Government have an ambitious programme of free trade negotiations that will include India and the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. We will continue to build relationships with trading partners around the world.

The Secretary of State has Bladnoch distillery in his constituency, and I have Glenmorangie, Clynelish and Old Pulteney in mine. Is it not crazy that the proposed ban on advertising is going to damage distilleries in our constituencies and, more importantly, could impair employment in rural parts of Scotland? These are vital local jobs.

Yes, the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. This is just another example of how anti-business this Scottish Government are—the SNP and its coalition partners, the Greens. The deposit return scheme that is coming down the tracks is just another example of how anti-business they are.