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Food and Drink Industry

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd November 2016.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West 12:00 am, 23rd November 2016

What discussions the Government have had with food and drink companies in Scotland on the importance of the UK market for that industry.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland held round-table discussions with representatives of the Scottish food and drink industry in August and October, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs met representatives of a range of food and drink businesses during her visit to Scotland earlier this month.

Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

Given that Scotch whisky is the finest in the world and such a valuable export, does my hon. Friend agree that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union may result in even more opportunities?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I very much agree with my hon. Friend. Scotch whisky is a fantastic success story for this country: in 2015, overseas sales were worth £3.9 billion. Earlier this year I attended an event in Tokyo to promote great British drinks, including Scotch whisky, which is particularly popular in Japan.

Hear, hear!

Photo of Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Trade and Investment)

Is the Secretary of State aware that the value of exports from the rest of the UK to Scotland is more than £50 billion? That is more than the value of Scotland’s exports to the rest of the United Kingdom. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that, regardless of any constitutional arrangements that may be made in the future, the trading relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom is important to both constituent parts?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I think that what the hon. Lady has said underlines the fact that the union that is really vital to this country is the United Kingdom, because there is very close trade within it.