Banff and Buchan MP welcomes UK maritime fund

Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid has urged the SNP Scottish government to pass on the 16.4m immediately to Scottish projects.
Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid has urged the SNP Scottish government to pass on the 16.4m immediately to Scottish projects.

North East MP David Duguid has welcomed a UK-wide £37.2 million scheme for the maritime industry during Brexit.

Scotland has been given a £16.4m share of a Defra fund, which will be announced by Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers.

But Scottish projects won't be able to apply for a share until April next year, unlike their compatriots in England who can apply immediately.

It follows the SNP's uncertain allocation of almost £140m for no-deal Brexit planning, of which only £50,000 has been given to Aberdeenshire Council.

And in 2017/18, only 13% of the predecessor European Maritime and Fisheries Fund was given to the North East by the Scottish government.

Scottish Conservative MP Mr Duguid has urged the SNP Scottish government to pass on the £16.4m immediately to Scottish projects.

Mr Duguid said: “I am disappointed that the SNP won’t take bids for Scottish projects until next year. It is an opportunity missed for our marine industries.

“SNP Ministers must now ensure every penny of this funding goes directly to support our fishermen and our coastal communities in areas like Banff and Buchan.

“Previous rounds of EMFF funding have seen the north-east receive less than 15% of the Scottish total, despite the presence of Europe’s biggest fishing port in Peterhead.

“Our fishing communities cannot continue to be short-changed.”

Almost two thirds of support grant applications from the region’s trawlermen to the EMFF were rejected in 2017/18.

According to new figures, 146 applications were made for the funding, but only 46 were approved by the Scottish Government.

These were worth £1.9 million — only 13% of the total £14.1 million of EMFF grants made available for 2017/18.