Scottish seafood alliance opposes tax hike
Nine Scottish seafood firms have formed an alliance to combat proposed tax increases by the federal government.
The new Grampian Seafood Alliance (GSA) includes suppliers such as John Ross Jr, which specializes in smoked salmon, and Joseph Robertson, a major value-added seafood producer.
They say the “unprecedented” tax increases of up to 123 percent could send the local seafood industry into decline and affect some of the 2,500 employees of the nine suppliers, The Press and Journal reported.
“We are very disappointed with the disproportionate and what seem like arbitrary increases by the Scottish Government,” Christopher Leigh, managing director at family-owned and operated smoked salmon producer John Ross Jr, told The Press and Journal. “It’s a very short-sighted decision and one that will undoubtedly prove detrimental to the northeast seafood industry and those that operate within it.”
John Ross Jr will be subject to a tax rate hike of 123 percent which will mean “that we can no longer be as competitive both domestically and internationally, and this will only have a negative impact on the local economy in the long term,” Leigh added.
“The sector needs to remain attractive to investors by building on its successes, not deter them from committing to the region,” said Joseph Robertson, the managing director Michael Robertson. “It is essential that we establish a long-term solution to remove the threat of current and future business rate increases of this scale.”
However, the Scottish government is delivering business rates relief worth GBP 660 million (USD 850 million, EUR 780 million) this year across Scotland, with specific help for firms in the northeast, according to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay.
“Our actions mean around 8,000 businesses in Aberdeen city and shire will pay no rates at all next year,” Mackay said. “The seafood processing sector is a key industry in the northeast, but it is one which, like others, is threatened by Brexit, with guarantees still needed from the U.K. Government over the status of the E.U. workers whom the sector is heavily reliant on.”