SCOTTISH politicians are challenging the £1.34 million of government funding to Young’s Seafood in Grimsby.
Ministers at Westminster sanctioned the payment two weeks ago from the Regional Growth Fund, (RGF) channelled through the North East Lincolnshire Council, to help Young’s develop its facilities in Grimsby, where it also has its headquarters.
But Scotland says this could directly threaten employment in Fraserburgh, where jobs are likely to go after Young’s lost a £100 million salmon processing contract with Sainsbury’s to Marine Harvest. A decision on where jobs will go is expected shortly.
Now Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford and Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, both Scottish Nationalists, have written to the UK government’s Secretary of State for Business saying it is of paramount importance that Fraserburgh be in no way disadvantaged in this process.
They say the offer of £1.34 million is lacking in detail and in the context of ‘what we know about state aid rules, would appear highly dubious’.
Whiteford said: ‘In the interests of transparency, I hope the minister will disclose to me and to the wider public exactly what this deal would entail.
‘Meantime, I remain actively involved with the Scottish government and its partners in making the most compelling case for the company to retain the skilled staff at Fraserburgh.’
Stevenson said: ‘The Scottish government is doing everything in its power to keep jobs in Fraserburgh.
‘I and my SNP colleagues will continue to fight for these jobs, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that Fraserburgh is best placed to take Young’s forward as a successful business.’
The money comes from unused cash in the area’s Regional Growth Fund. However, Scottish politicians are highlighting European Union State Aid rules which place strict limits on the direct financial support governments can offer to companies.