Moray MP Douglas Ross has welcomed UK Government plans to expand a fisheries support fund to include those in the catching sector.
Ministers announced today (Sunday) that seafood and aquaculture businesses affected by reduced demand from the hospitality sector in the UK and EU will be able to make claims to the £23million fund.
The scheme originally focused on seafood exporters that were hit by delays getting fresh produce to the EU in January. It followed direct calls from Mr Ross to the Prime Minister for financial support.
Now a wider range of fisheries businesses can apply for grants to cover up to three months of average fixed costs incurred between January and March this year. It will help the catching sector with costs such as insurance, equipment hire, and port fees.
Scottish Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross said:
“This announcement will be welcomed by local fishermen here in Moray who have been affected by the drop in market value for their catch in recent months and will be available to some of those excluded from the Scottish Government compensation scheme
“Closures of hospitality businesses due to the Coronavirus pandemic have had a huge impact on the whole seafood sector.
“Coupled with delays in getting exports to the EU, this has created very difficult conditions for many businesses.
“I raised this issue in January with the Prime Minister and while the initial fund was welcome, it did not go far enough.
“By expanding the eligibility for the scheme, more businesses that have faced problems will be able to access vital financial support.
“I hope that local fishermen here in Moray will apply to this fund to help support them through this unprecedented period until we can start to see a return to some kind of normality.”