Election 24

Labour hails Scottish exports, Tories claim credit

Scottish salmon is the UK’s top food export

Labour says it will promote more high quality Scottish products abroad such as whisky and smoked salmon, as the Tories say their success was down to them.

Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour leader has outlined how it will use the UK’s global network of embassies for its Brand Scotland initiative.

In a statement it pointed out that the UK’s largest drinks export is Scotch Whisky and its largest overseas food sales product is Scottish salmon, “underlining the importance of Scottish exports to the UK’s economy”.

Currently, more than 40 bottles of Scotch Whisky are exported every second to global markets, while international sales of Scottish salmon are the equivalent of more than £1.6 million every day.

While both have suffered setbacks over Brexit border regulations and during the pandemic, food and drink products still make up 14% of Scottish exports and account for one in ten registered businesses in Scotland.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “‘Brand Scotland’ – our amazing food and drink, creative industries, and tourism and hospitality – has an immense soft power abroad, while creating jobs at home.”

He claimed the Tory government has “failed to capitalise on our homegrown success”.

However, Scottish Conservative shadow business, economic growth and tourism secretary Murdo Fraser: “Salmon and whisky are vital for the Scottish economy, and their success in recent years is down in part to the export focus of the UK Conservative Government.

“The Scottish Conservatives’ economic paper last year – Grasping the Thistle – outlines how we can deliver high-quality jobs and create future opportunities for Scots and ensure that sectors like the salmon and whisky sector can continue to flourish.”

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