To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications have been made for compensation for lost sales under the Seafood Disruption Support Scheme; what proportion of applications to that scheme were accepted for payment; what proportion of successful applications to that scheme were paid out to the full amount requested; and what the average payout was to firms in receipt of compensation payments under that scheme.
The Seafood Disruption Support Scheme (SDSS) was launched in February 2021 to help seafood businesses cover a proportion of verifiable losses that occurred during export to the single market in January. The scheme was designed in line with Government public funding principles, which apply strict conditions and evidence requirements to business to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly. In February the scheme received 119 applications across the UK with 31 applicants meeting the criteria for the scheme. Successful applicants were eligible for 50% of their verifiable loss, up to a value of £100,000. Defra can confirm that the total amount delivered through the scheme was £377,138.11.
Alongside the SDSS, Defra also delivered the Seafood Response Fund (SRF), which made payments to cover the fixed costs of catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses. The SRF provided funding to some businesses which were unsuccessful under the SDSS scheme.
In total over £22 million was delivered through both UK-wide and devolved emergency schemes in 2021, of which £16 million was provided directly by Defra.
Financial support was only one of the many actions taken by this Government to alleviate the pressures faced in early 2021 as a result of export disruption. Defra’s priority has always been to keep exports moving – which is why the Government acted swiftly to form the Seafood Exports Working Group and the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce, working closely with industry to identify and address priority issues to minimise disruption to trade flows. Through ongoing engagement with the EU, Defra has been able to resolve a number of issues with the EU and improved consistency between Border Control Posts, such as certification for organic salmon, ink colour on export health certificates (EHC), and which species are exempt from catch certificate requirements.