Post-Brexit Tory law prevents Scottish Government helping fishermen in crippling fuel crisis.
Scotland’s fishing fleet is facing a deeper crisis from rocketing fuel costs than boats from continental Europe as a direct consequence of Brexit.
Scots fishermen are sounding the alarm that rising fuel prices – which has seen marine diesel double in cost over the past 12 months – could force them to tie up their boats and they warn that without support from the UK Government the nation’s food supply will be impacted.
In contrast, French fishermen benefit from a government subsidy that helps with the cost of fuel and, in Spain, the government has pledged to lower taxes at state-run ports and is offering low interest loans to help fishing boats remain viable.
New laws brought in after Brexit by the Westminster Tory Government prevents the Scottish Government from offering similar help to the Scottish fleet.
That leaves Scots fishermen reliant on the Tory Government which – to date – has sat on its hands and offered no tangible support whatsoever.
SNP MSP Karen Adam, whose constituency includes Scotland’s fishing capital of Peterhead, said:
“The reason France and Spain can take this action to protect jobs, businesses and coastal communities is because they have all the powers and resources of independent countries in the European Union.
“Scottish fishermen, however, must now rely on a Tory Government at Westminster which, through its power-grabbing Internal Market Bill, has legislated to prevent the Scottish Government from offering similar help.
“The Tories claim that any support provided by the Scottish Government to keep the fleet at sea and help feed the nation will supposedly distort the UK internal market.
“It’s dangerous and damaging nonsense.
“Instead, under Westminster control, Scottish fishing communities are neglected by the Tory Government.
“This has created a perfect storm that threatens the futures of many boats and jobs.
“And while Scottish fishermen try to struggle on, over in the EU we see independent French and Spanish governments taking action to help their industries which they clearly value – unlike the Tories’ callous neglect of our fishing fleet.
“This is all another direct and damaging consequence of the Tory Brexit obsession that Scotland did not vote for and it is yet another stark example of why Scotland needs all the powers of being an independent country within the EU.”