Labour recognises salmon as key to ‘Brand Scotland’

Keir Starmer, House of Commons 2024 (photo:UK Parliament/Maria Unger)

The salmon industry’s role as an intrinsic part of “Brand Scotland” gets a nod in the Labour Party’s election manifesto, published yesterday. The manifesto also commits to negotiating a new veterinary agreement with the European Union.

The 136-page document, among a raft of pledges, includes a promise that the UK Government would take a more collaborative approach with the Scottish Government on international engagement.

The manifesto says: “Scotland has an enviable international reputation. Its culture, products and services are internationally renowned – from whisky and salmon to computer game development, bioscience and financial services. Labour will champion ‘Brand Scotland’ across the world through the Scotland Office, and our diplomatic and trade networks.”

On relations with Europe, Labour has resisted calls to reverse Brexit, but the manifesto says: “We will reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties with our European friends, neighbours and allies. That does not mean reopening the divisions of the past. There will be no return to the single market, the customs union, or freedom of movement.

“Instead, Labour will work to improve the UK’s trade and investment relationship with the EU, by tearing down unnecessary barriers to trade.”

This would include negotiating a new veterinary agreement “…to prevent unnecessary border checks and help tackle the cost of food.”

On hiring overseas workers – which has become an issue for the seafood industry post-Brexit – the manifesto is fairly vague regarding Labour’s plans to manage legal migration.

It says net migration will be reduced and adds: “We will reform the points-based immigration system so that it is fair and properly managed, with appropriate restrictions on visas, and by linking immigration and skills policy.”

The manifesto promises to apply “joined-up thinking” so that an influx of skilled workers from overseas in a given sector is treated as a call to action to improve training UK workers in that field.

On environmental policy, Labour promises action to clean up Britain’s rivers and coasts, and a land-use framework to protect food security and the environment, but there is no mention of how Labour would manage marine protected areas (MPAs).

History suggests that, when there has been a change of government, some of the incoming administration’s most far-reaching policies have not been spelled out as manifesto commitments. If, as polls suggest, Keir Starmer (pictured, photo: UK Parliament/Maria Unger) is the UK’s next Prime Minister, Labour’s 2024 manifesto may not be a complete guide to what happens next.


Keep up with us

Fish Farmer cover July 2024

The July 2024 issue of Fish Farmer is out now