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South Scotland Food and Drink Industry

– in the Scottish Parliament on 31st May 2018.

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Photo of Joan McAlpine Joan McAlpine Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what support it is giving to the food and drink industry in South Scotland. (S5O-02151)

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

Direct investment in and support for the food and drink sector in Scotland from the public sector equate to about £100 million per annum across a range of areas including skills, education, research, industry development, standards and capital investment. That funding is provided on a national basis and is available to companies throughout the South Scotland region.

Photo of Joan McAlpine Joan McAlpine Scottish National Party

Many of the food and drink companies in South Scotland are microbusinesses and need a local approach. When will connect local hold a workshop in Dumfries and Galloway? What monitoring will be put in place to ensure geographical parity of awards from the new regional food fund?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

The member is correct to point to connect local and the work that it does. The Scottish Government provides £3 million-worth of funding to it, which enables it to provide an advisory service in the four-year period to 2020. I understand that a connect local event is expected to take place, and I can write to the member with the detail and the timescales.

Dumfries and Galloway has an outstanding reputation for excellence in the production of high-quality food and drink. I work closely with the new South Scotland vehicle, which is led by Professor Russel Griggs and Rob Dickson. There are enormous opportunities for businesses in the sector to be even more successful.

Photo of Oliver Mundell Oliver Mundell Conservative

Later today, Young’s Seafood is expected to announce bad news at Pinneys of Scotland. Will the cabinet secretary set out what support will be made available to the workforce? Will he reaffirm that the Scottish Government remains 100 per cent committed to ensuring that a new operator continues production on that site?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

As the member knows, Paul Wheelhouse leads on that matter. It is extremely important to us that we get the best possible outcome, and I have been involved in meetings and discussions thereanent. We are absolutely determined to get the best possible outcome, as Mr Mundell knows. That remains unchanged and will continue to be the case.