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19 August 2015

Whiteford and Stevenson Press UK Government on Potential State Aid Rules Breach

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford, and Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson have written to the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Business, following the UK Government’s involvement in a reported offer of £1.34m in funding to Young’s Seafood’s Grimsby site.

It has recently emerged that North Lincolnshire Council had worked with the UK Government to devise a £1.34 million funding package to persuade the company to move jobs from Scotland to Grimsby. It is understood that the money comes from unused cash in the area’s Regional Growth Fund. However, Scottish politicians were quick to cast doubt on the funding package, highlighting European Union State Aid rules which place strict limits on the direct financial support governments can offer to companies.

Dr Whiteford and Mr Stevenson have now written to the UK Government’s Sajid Javid, the responsible minister, asking him to publish greater detail about the offer and clarify if the UK Government has sought advice on whether the funding would breach state aid rules.

Eilidh Whiteford said:

“It’s of paramount importance that Fraserburgh be in no way disadvantaged in this process. The reported 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.”

“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.”

Stewart Stevenson added:

“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.”

“It is astonishing that, to date, I have yet to be contacted by any UK Government representative or official to offer assistance in maintaining employment in Fraserburgh. Instead, their focus appears to have been on providing an incentive for a business to move jobs out of Scotland and into England. The Minister has some serious questions to answer and I await his response with interest.”
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