MSP Maree Todd has warned that Scottish fishing communities will have their interests bartered away by the UK government in their Brexit negotiations.
Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on sea fisheries and end–year negotiations, Ms Todd praised the contribution of Scotland’s fishing communities but was concerned that they would be considered ‘expendable’ by the UK government during Brexit negotiations.
She said: “I do not doubt that there should be opportunities for fishing post–Brexit but, like many in my community, I fear that the UK Government will once again consider the industry to be expendable and barter away our interests.”
“Are we expected to believe that fishing rights in Scottish waters will take precedence over passporting arrangements for London’s financial sector?”
Ms Todd praised fisheries minister Fergus Ewing MSP for his record on standing up for Scottish industry and expressed her confidence that he would achieve the best deal for Scottish fishing in the end–year negotiations.
“He [Fergus Ewing MSP] stood up for Scottish steel as Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and, more recently, he stood up and protected the workers at Fort William aluminium smelter during the sale by Rio Tinto. I have no doubt that he will ensure that our fishing industry gets the best possible deal from any negotiation.”
Ms Todd also criticised the UK Government for failing to include island wind power in the forthcoming contracts for difference auction as a “complete betrayal of island communities.”
Her comments came during a parliamentary debate on renewables where she criticised the UK government’s energy policy in comparison with the policy of the Scottish Government.
“We have a tale of two Governments. While the Scottish Government sets ambitious targets and drives innovation, the UK Government has made U turns on promises and failed to deliver a route to market.
“In the latest announcement of contracts for difference, the UK Government has put off a decision about how to provide connection capacity for projects that are sited on Scotland’s islands; failed to ring fence funding for the wave and tidal sectors; and left onshore wind and solar in limbo, without any contractual framework to support long–term investment, although they are the cheapest of any form of electricity.
“It is wholly wrong for the Tories to pass off what is happening as an honest consultation on island wind. They are consulting on a negative proposition, and the people on the islands recognise that it is a complete betrayal of island communities.”
Ms Todd has been a strong critic of the decision on Contracts for Difference, having already lodged a parliamentary motion, and asked a question of the First Minister on the subject.