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The Scottish Government has provided £1.6 million in core funding to the Scottish Fair Trade Forum since its inception in 2007, to take forward our policy on fair trade. That includes having realised 2013 our ambition to achieve fair trade nation status, which was reconfirmed in 2017, and demonstrating Scotland’s on-going progress in supporting and purchasing fair trade.
Scotland currently has 97 Fairtrade communities, including all its cities and 27 of the 32 local authority areas. With our support, the forum continues to support active fair trade groups through the accreditation process in villages, towns and cities up and down the country.
Queensferry fair trade group worked very hard to achieve Fairtrade accreditation for the town of South Queensferry. The town got that accreditation in January this year and was, understandably, very keen to demonstrate it by erecting signage at the town’s markers, only to discover that Transport Scotland has a fast policy to stop communities from erecting such signage because Fairtrade is a commercial brand. Does the minister agree that that is a miserly decision that is in danger of disincentivising towns’ achieving Fairtrade status?
I thank Alex Cole-Hamilton for raising that point. I am aware of the Queensferry fair trade group and I congratulate it on its work in achieving Fairtrade royal burgh status. I am aware that Alex Cole-Hamilton has previously asked parliamentary questions about the matter, and that he corresponded with the then transport minister, Humza Yousaf. I offer him a meeting with me and, potentially, the Scottish Fair Trade Forum following this meeting to discuss the matter in more detail.