We should celebrate global success of Scottish food and drink sector – Angus Robertson
Scotland’s food and drink sector is one of the best performing in the economy.
Over the last decade years, food exports have more than doubled, it is Scotland biggest employer, sales of Scottish brands in the UK have risen more than 40 per cent and the industry is worth a whopping £14 billion.
It’s a truly national industry, with agricultural producers right across Scotland, the seafood sector right along the coastline, and whisky heartland regions like Speyside and Islay are joined by distilleries from Shetland to the Borders.
Scotland makes 70 per cent of gin produced in the UK and Scottish beer producers are exporting around the world.
In recent days the House of Commons Environment and Rural Affairs Committee published a report saying that “more should be done to increase overseas exposure to British food/drink. It needs to be done sensitively, in a way that enables nations of the UK to retain their separate identities”.
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James Withers, head of Food and Drink Scotland, is right to highlight that the UK government’s Great Britain PR campaign “fails this test”.
We are lucky in this country to be the first in the world to have a specialist body that brings government and this key industry together. Supporting and promoting the sector and Scottish brands is about jobs, communities and the economy. Hopefully everyone can get behind that.