MSP gets down to business in Peterhead

Ross Thomson with Jimmy Buchan, business manager of the Scottish Seafood Association and Score Group (Europe) Managing Director Conrad Ritchie
Ross Thomson with Jimmy Buchan, business manager of the Scottish Seafood Association and Score Group (Europe) Managing Director Conrad Ritchie

Brexit and business rates were on the agenda as a North East MSP visited industry leaders in Peterhead recently.

Scottish Conservative MSP Ross Thomson met with Score Group (Europe) Managing Director Conrad Ritchie, Scottish Seafood Association business manager, Jimmy Buchan and Deputy Chief Executive of Peterhead Port Authority, Stephen Paterson.

Mr Thomson campaigned for a Leave vote in the EU referendum and said that fishermen in the North East are becoming “increasingly frustrated” at the stance of the SNP since the UK voted to exit the European bloc.

There are also concerns locally about the impact of punitive rises in non-domestic rates, which are hitting employers across Aberdeenshire while many are struggling due to the ongoing downturn in the oil and gas industry.

Mr Thomson said: “Ever since the vote to Leave in June, the SNP has used the result to agitate for a second rerferendum on independence.

“The SNP vision is for an independent Scotland within the EU, which is exactly what a majority of people in Banff and Buchan voted against.

“Our fishermen in particular sent a clear signal that they wanted out of the EU and out of the damaging Common Fisheries Policy – to take back control over Scottish waters.

“They now face the bizarre prospect of being taken back into the EU by an SNP government obsessed with breaking up the UK.

“I also received a unequivocal message about the damage that the massive increases in business rates are having on employers in this area.

“Many are already struggling due to the downturn in oil and gas, and these rates will only lead to more job losses and could even force some companies to the wall.

“Efforts from the Scottish Government to mitigate against this have fallen very far short of what is required to help the North East economy.”