Results 161–180 of 8707 for speaker:Fergus Ewing

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: That is not what the NFUS president Andrew McCornick told me this week when I spoke to him. He said that he is very satisfied with the payments that we are making and especially with our plan to reinstate LFASS payments next year at 100 per cent, with the payment of the convergence moneys within a very short period, with the earliest payment of LFASS and, generally, with the Scottish...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: As Ms Watt opined, I think that there will be long-term damage, which will affect markets and customers and the value and the volume of trade, and will result in the loss of protected geographical indicators for products such as Arbroath smokies, Orkney cheese and Scotch beef and lamb. That damage will include the loss of influence, the loss of workers, the loss of freedom of movement and the...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: The fact of the matter is that we still do not know much more about the UK shared prosperity fund than those four words. The fact is that that fund deals with entirely devolved matters and the UK Government is on a power grab, whereby it is seeking somehow to administer those matters directly. Of course, it cannot; it will be entirely reliant on our administrative services to do that. It is...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Yes. There is a lot of concern in the whole farming sector and the meat sector, not just the sheep sector. I have also noticed that concerns have been expressed in the public press by AOG Couriers, Marks and Spencer and others. There are concerns that labelling of some products will, in effect, have to be doubled. For small businesses, it would not be productive or cost effective to have to...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: We have certainly encouraged new methods of marketing food, such as direct marketing and online marketing. Many fishing interests—fishermen and fishing businesses—have been ingenious during lockdown in selling direct to the public, for example. However, I make the point to Mr Ruskell that those efforts, worthy and to be commended as they are, are absolutely insufficient to make up for the...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: We worked hard over a long period to do our best to prepare for what was to come with Brexit, but the best preparation—a derogation, which we and the industry asked for—was refused. However, in response to Mr McArthur’s question, I note that FSS had set up three hubs by September last year and it worked round the clock to ensure that they were properly serviced and staffed with...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Rona Mackay is quite right. Seed potatoes in Scotland are regarded as being of the highest quality in the world. Our provenance is respected and our expertise is admired throughout the world and valued by our trading partners. I have been working with George Eustice to assure equivalence in an article 44 application, which is to be considered at the end of January by the section of the...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: I completely reject Mr Carson’s analysis. It is hugely disrespectful to the public servants working round the clock for Food Standards Scotland—staff who have been provided by FSS at our instigation—who set up the hubs, such as at DFDS. The problems that have arisen have not arisen because of a lack of staff or a lack of action on our part, but because the UK Government has foisted a...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: I had a brief discussion with George Eustice, who gave me very brief details of the scheme, a couple of hours before it was announced in public. The little that the UK Government has told us indicates that the fishermen compensation scheme will actually exclude fishermen. It will be the first scheme in history that was designed to support a group of people who will be ineligible for any...

Scottish Parliament: Rural Economy (Impact of European Union Exit) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: I have sought to work—and it is my duty to work—constructively with George Eustice, and in the past we have done so. I find his comments that Covid has caused this issue to be incomprehensible. Nobody believes that at all, and I am astonished that he made those remarks. Will the Conservatives not just accept responsibility and say that Brexit has not worked out; that the disruption that...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 Restrictions (Support for Tourism in West Scotland) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: The Scottish Government recognises the difficulties that businesses throughout Scotland face and the fact that, although the restrictions are necessary, they have had a devastating impact on the sector. We have allocated almost £3 billion to support businesses. I announced a package of support worth £104 million for tourism and hospitality businesses, which was developed following many...

Scottish Parliament: Covid-19 Restrictions (Support for Tourism in West Scotland) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Mary Fee makes a very reasonable point. We have worked on that long and hard. There are elements of the supply chain that are largely dependent on tourism and hospitality; the wholesale sector in particular springs to mind. I have worked long and hard with representatives of the wholesale sector to ensure that they are not left out. My task is to get lifeline support out to those who need it,...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: I agree that the restrictions will continue to have a devastating impact on our hospitality and tourism sectors, but they are, of course, vital in suppressing virus transmission. As our efforts to tackle the virus progress, we will continue to build on our very constructive dialogue with the industry and listen to its concerns as we move towards recovery. Indeed, that was one of the key...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: We are working very closely with stakeholders, including the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Sail Scotland. We are working with marine tourism interests; I have met representatives and will continue to do so. To answer the member’s question, we are engaging actively with the marine tourism sector. I absolutely agree that it is an extremely important, growing and varied part of the tourism...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: I have regular engagement with the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish tourism ministers. I think that Nigel Huddleston and I have a good working relationship. I made it clear that I felt that the furlough should be extended from October, and it was, to April. I fear that the furlough, as we heard in the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee this morning, does not offer sufficient...

Scottish Parliament: Tourism (Support) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Of course it is absolutely correct to say that many businesses are facing real financial pressure. That is why we have sought to provide support for many sectors, including marine tourism, that face real difficulties. For some areas of activity, such as taxi driving and the coach sector, there have been supports, such as the hotel fund and the pivotal enterprise fund, that I do not think have...

Scottish Parliament: Agriculture Funding Review (Discussions with United Kingdom Government) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: In September 2019, I welcomed the UK Government’s acceptance of the “recommendations” and “wider observations” of the Lord Bew review. That came after five years of campaigning by the Scottish Government and Parliament for the UK Government to right that historic wrong. In its response to the Bew review, the UK Government welcomed the principle of uplift for less productive land and...

Scottish Parliament: Agriculture Funding Review (Discussions with United Kingdom Government) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: The cut by the UK of £170.1 million is devastating. Incidentally, a decision was not even made clear to ministers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; it was communicated at a meeting of officials in September. It is a disgraceful decision. Michael Gove and George Eustice promised that, if we got out of the EU with Brexit, there would be no reduction in funding, and indeed there would be...

Scottish Parliament: International Tourists (VAT-free Shopping) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Despite the serious implications for travel, tourism and retail, there was no prior engagement between the UK Government and the Scottish Government on the matter. On 22 October, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance sent a joint letter to the UK chancellor, expressing our opposition to the proposed change and requesting a review of the...

Scottish Parliament: International Tourists (VAT-free Shopping) (21 Jan 2021)

Fergus Ewing: Yes, I will, and I will do so when I meet Nigel Huddleston on 28 January. I am grateful to Rona Mackay for raising the issue in the Scottish Parliament. The international tourism sector is the least likely to emerge from Covid rapidly. It is the most affected, and surely VAT-free shopping is one of the factors that help to bring people into international custom and visitation. To cut that is...


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