Brexit: Lorries arrive in Westminster for fisheries protest
Last week the Prime Minister promised action for fishing communities whose businesses were been damaged by delays at the border. Yesterday outlines of the plan were unveiled by the Prime Minister while he was on a visit to Oxfordshire, with millions of pounds pledged to “help out” those experiencing difficulties.
Mr Johnson said: “Insofar as there are problems at the moment, caused by teething problems, people not filling in the right forms, or misunderstandings, when it is not peoples’ fault, of course we are going to compensate and to help out, and funds have been put in place to do that.”
He added: “Where businesses, through no fault of their own, have faced difficulties exporting where there is a genuine willing buyer, there’s a £23million fund to help out.”
Specifics of the compensation scheme are still yet to be made public.
A Downing Street official yesterday said the Government would provide specifics “shortly”.
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Pressure was mounting on the Prime Minister to take action after fisheries launched a protest in Westminster.
As many as 20 lorries parked up close to No10 to express anger at businesses “being tied in knots with paperwork”.
Trucks with slogans such as “Brexit carnage” and “incompetent government destroying shellfish industry” took part in the protest.
Some firms have experienced delays of over 24 Horus at the border when exporting to the continent.
The fishing industry relies on quick exports so their produce can get to market while still fresh.
Allan Miller, owner of AM Shellfish in Aberdeen, Scotland said: “It’s not just possible to work with their new rules, between costs, timing, paperwork, it’s just not possible.”
Adding delays were impacting on the quality of the product, he said: “They’ll buy it but if the stuff is weaker they’ll pay less for it.”
A spokesman from Eyemouth-based DR Collin & Son, who were taking part in the protest, said: “The industry is being tied in knots with paperwork requirements which would be easy enough to navigate, given that companies have put in the time and training in order to have all the relevant procedures in place for 1st January 2021.
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“However, all the training is going to waste as the technology is outdated and cannot cope with the demands being placed on it – which in turn is resulting in no produce being able to leave the UK.
“These are not ‘teething issues’ as reported by the Government and the consequences of these problems will be catastrophic on the lives of fishermen, fishing towns and the shellfish industry as a whole.”
Mr Johnson said he remained upbeat about the future prospects for the industry.
He said: “Be in no doubt that there are great opportunities for fishermen across the whole of the UK to take advantage of, the spectacular marine wealth of the United Kingdom.
“In just five-and-a-half years’ time, we will have access to all the fish in all our waters.
“And just now, we have access to 25 percent more than we did just a month ago.
“That means there is scope for fishing communities across the UK to take advantage of the increase in quota.
“What we’re going to do is give people a helping hand and that’s why we’ve set up the £100million fund to help people with boats, to help with the fish processing industry, the opportunity is massive.”
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