I am in regular contact with the Chancellor for the Exchequer and all members of the Cabinet to discuss how best the UK Government can support sectors of the Scottish economy, including the wholesale food and drink sector.
At the last budget delivered in March I was pleased to see the Scotch whisky industry getting a welcome boost, with a freeze on spirits and a commitment to a review of alcohol duty, and £10 million help to develop green technology. I was also extremely happy to see £1 million investment in promoting Scottish produce to overseas markets.
The wholesale food and drink sector in Scotland has also been considered as part of the UK Government’s broader Covid-19 support. This included the support offered through the Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme which have protected the incomes of almost 800,000 people in Scotland – more than a quarter of the workforce. This is in addition to the various loans and guarantees to help UK businesses survive the economic fallout from coronavirus. However, our response to Covid-19 must be UK-wide and that’s why we have announced over £7 billion of additional funding to the devolved administrations to support people, business and public services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means £3.8 billion for the Scottish Government, £2.2 billion for the Welsh Government and £1.2 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.