UK Fisheries — [Sir George Howarth in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:32 am on 12th February 2020.

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Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business and Industry) 10:32 am, 12th February 2020

The hon. Gentleman would be better advised to direct that question to his colleague Councillor Jim Gifford, who is the leader of the council. As members of the same party they will have ample opportunity to discuss the question. My point was that it takes five years from scratch to build EHO capacity, and without that there is a huge problem, which we cannot gloss over.

There is also a need to have heat treated pallets for exports, wagons and drivers with appropriate credentials, and there is the prospect of delays at ports. For a perishable product, that is bad news, especially as the European Union accounts for 77% of total Scottish seafood exports by value.

The only area of opportunity that I could concede Brexit offers is in terms of the value that could come to fishing and coastal communities. However, that requires investment in skills and training and requires the manufacturers, the producers, to have access to product. As hon. Members said, it depends very much on zonal attachment and getting access to that product. It depends very much on free and frictionless access to markets. It also depends on freedom of movement. I sat through a rather dispiriting Government response to a debate yesterday afternoon in the main Chamber about freedom of movement. We absolutely do need to have that if we are to take full advantage.

It is very clear—