Ian Duncan seeks to clarify UK Government’s European funding guarantee after SNP confusion
Conservative MEP Ian Duncan has sought to reassure Dr Whiteford that her concern over the EU fishing fund is without foundation.
In a recent question to the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan, suggested that the UK had overlooked the fishing industry when it committed to matching EU funds to the end of the current financial cycle.
Conservative MEP Ian Duncan has sought to reassure Dr Whiteford MP that her concern is without foundation. All Scottish projects under the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund will have their funds guaranteed to 2020. The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer made this commitment at the same time that he reassured farmers of their CAP payments.
"When the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer made his commitment to farmers, he also gave an assurance that all EU Structural and Investment Fund projects (which includes projects under the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF)) with signed contracts or funding agreements in place and all projects signed before the 2016 Autumn Statement. He stated on the 13th of August ´I am confirming that structural and investment funds projects signed before the Autumn Statement and Horizon research funding granted before we leave the EU will be guaranteed by the Treasury after we leave´. The Treasury has already extended this reassurance to the devolved administrations.
"All Scottish projects under the European Maritime & Fisheries Fund will have their funds guaranteed to the end of their term.
"However, I draw to your attention concerns raised by several of our shared constituents, namely that Marine Scotland, the Scottish Government’s lead agency for fisheries, has set an early ‘final spend’ date for EMFF projects, as a result of the ‘many, as yet, unknown factors surrounding any future Brexit negotiation.’ My colleague Fin Carson MSP challenged Marine Scotland on this point, only to be told that the advice was no longer relevant. As yet, this information has not been conveyed to fishermen.
"I am sure you will agree that the uncertainty created by the Scottish Government’s position is unhelpful in the present climate. I would therefore ask you to use your good offices to encourage the Scottish Government to offer the same guarantees to Scottish fishermen as the UK Government, and to do so as a matter of urgency."