LIZ Truss has been told to use her visit to Scotland to “apologise to businesses” in Scotland that are dealing with the fallout from Brexit.
The SNP’s Shadow International Trade spokesperson Drew Hendry MP said: “Liz Truss should use this visit to Scotland to apologise to the countless businesses who are paying a heavy price due to her government’s extreme Brexit policy.
“Time and time again the interests of Scotland’s businesses – including Scottish farmers and crofters under the Australia trade deal – have been completely sidelined by the Tory government.
“It’s clear beyond any doubt that Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control, and that the only way to keep Scotland safe from the long-term damage of Brexit and Tory trade deals is to become an independent country.”
It comes as people across Scotland are noticing gaps in the fruit and vegetable displays at supermarkets and a decline in quality with some items past their best by the time they arrive.
Alistair McBay from the Isle of Barra tweeted a photo of empty shelves in his local Coop to Truss, asking: “So you can arrange to export apples to India but can you explain why you can’t get them picked and delivered to supermarkets in the UK? This is a supermarket in Scotland today. How do you account for this?”
Twitter user Seonaidh tweeted a picture of supermarket shelves where empty boxes were covered with images of fresh produce: “#BrexitShambles takes an Orwellian twist. Our fruit and veg sections have become photo galleries. I expect @BBCScotlandNews will be grilling our Tories over why fruit is rotting in the fields while our shops are empty?”
One explanation that has been presented for the delays is the absence of lorry drivers. Before the pandemic, around 10% of Britain’s 600,000 HGV lorry drivers were from the EU and they have mostly left the country. In an open letter to Boris Johnson, the Road Hauliers Association estimated that there is a shortage of 60,000 lorry drivers. In response, the UK Government relaxed rules so that drivers can drive an extra hour a day – up to 10 hours – for an initial four-week period.
Last week, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said the industry is being faced with a constantly changing “bureaucratic morass” that potentially could bring the sector to its knees.
The body made the statement after the latest Brexit rule which means so-called Frontier Permits became necessary on July 1 for Norwegian crews on the specialist wellboats that treat, harvest and transport Scottish salmon. The new permits, however, do not cover all the Norwegian crew members needed to operate the boats.
Hamish Macdonell, the SSPO’s director of strategic engagement, wrote in Fish Farmer magazine: “The result has been a major headache for our sector and a problem which could potentially bring the whole Scottish salmon sector to its knees.”