As the Brexit red tape and the coronavirus ban impact trade, Scottish business leaders have warned of a gloomy start to the new year.
Scotland Food & Drink said that exporters are facing “significant challenges” in shipping goods to the EU due to new red tape, with unique problems for the seafood industry.
In the meantime, during the crucial Christmas season, the Scottish Hospitality Association announced a “devastating” 80 percent drop in sales that would impact companies through 2022, and called for immediate government help.
It said that the U.K. Scottish governments and governments should “grow up” and avoid complaining about the assistance available.
The problems raised by the challenging transition to a new trading system with Europe following Brexit were also highlighted earlier this week by the Scottish Seafood Association.
Its representatives said the export arrangements were a “shambles,” with emptying and testing whole trailers instead of sample boxes, customs barcode issues, and a shortage of vets.
Scottish Food & Drink, which represents 450 businesses, said the export delays due to the last-minute trade agreement between the United Kingdom reached “unfortunately no surprise.”was no surprise, unfortunately.
James Withers, chief executive, said, “It’s been a very challenging 72 hours.”
A lot of logistical measures are now underway to bring goods from Scotland to France, and minor delays at different points can quickly lead to major problems for a number of products whose importance depends on hitting the European markets within 24 hours.
It will be a major move forward to prioritize simpler loads of individual types of seafood, such as salmon. This will allow the emphasis to change to more nuanced shipments, such as those containing different items and batches from different companies.
There is no question that some fishing firms are struggling, as we knew would be the case, with the new paperwork requirements. This slows down the checks until trucks can be cleared from Larkhall to English ports that must be carried out by law.
“There will be a major exercise with exporters in the next few days to work through the frequent problems with incomplete or incorrect paperwork.”
On the French side of the river, there were also serious IT issues. “There have also been significant IT problems on the French side of the channel. ”
We are told by the French authorities that these systems are now being repaired, but will need to be closely monitored over the coming days.
The effect of the disruption is important and can bring the supply chain of seafood very rapidly to a halt – from fishing boats to transport.
“After a terrible 2020 and a nightmare before Christmas due to the closure of the French border, the financial impact would be severe for many.”
On the domestic front, the Scottish Hospitality Association, which comprises some of the best-known restaurant and bar companies in the country with 6,000 employees at 200 locations, called on the UK and Scottish governments to coordinate business assistance.
Just 20 percent of normal Christmas income was taken up by SHG members and an average of £ 12,000 a week was lost in each pub – losses that could impact long-term profitability.
SHG operations spent an average of nearly £ 6,000 per pub per week on fixed costs such as land, renting of equipment and services during the closure.
The Scottish and UK governments battled earlier this week over the true worth of the £ 375 million assistance announced by Exchequer Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Initially, the Treasury indicated that it would be fresh cash, but backtracked when SNP Treasury Secretary Kate Forbes protested that it was part of the funding previously reported.
SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said, “Without Christmas, most hospitality companies are simply not viable when we earn about 30 percent of our total annual income.”
We’ve had the worst trade in living memory in December, and we’re facing the worst start to the year ever. Our political leaders are bickering with each other instead of supporting.
It is like arguing about who, when everyone is already underwater, throws the life preserver.