Lochhead takes fuel concerns to Brussels – Fishupdate.com

Lochhead takes fuel concerns to Brussels Published:  19 May, 2008

SCOTTISH Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead today headed to Brussels demanding urgent talks with the UK Government over what can be done to help the Scottish fishing industry over increasing fuel prices.

He said that the Scottish fleet is being particularly hard hit with the industry facing the prospect of having to pay an increase of tens of millions of pounds in fuel costs over the last year.

Speaking before leaving for Brussels, Mr Lochhead said: “The fishing industry is of vital importance to communities throughout Scotland and sustains thousands of livelihoods.

“We need to make sure that we do not allow the renewed confidence that has developed in the industry over the last year to be undermined by the impact of fuel costs.

“I share the industry’s concerns about the serious situation facing fishermen as the viability of many businesses is taken closer to the brink with every increase in the price of fuel.

“The Scottish fleet is being particularly hard hit with prospect of removing tens of millions of pounds from the fleet’s profits. This is a fuel dependent sector where the vessels simply cannot set sail and go to work without using significant amounts of fuel.

“I am doing all I can to help the Scottish fishing industry but I also want to make sure the UK Government is also taking action. That is why I have called for urgent talks with Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Hilary Benn in Brussels today to discuss what more can be done. I will also be using every opportunity to raise the issue of fuel costs with the EU authorities during my visit to Brussels.”

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