PRIME Minister David Cameron and the SNP Banff and Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford clashed in the Commons yesterday over grant fund aid to Young’s Seafood in Grimsby.
Young’s is currently assessing the employment situation following the loss of a major salmon processing contract to rivals Marine Harvest. Jobs are certain to go but when and where still has to be announced.
At Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday Cameron denied the granting of £1.34 million in regional funding to help Young’s develop its Grimsby faculties was unfair treatment.
Whiteford said: ‘I am sure the Prime Minister will be aware that more than 900 people at the Young’s fish processing factory in my constituency in Fraserburgh currently face the threat of redundancy.
‘There is a perception across the industry that the UK government have been encouraging and supporting the company to relocate many of those jobs to Grimsby. What is the Prime Minister going to do to support the workers in Fraserburgh?’
Cameron said: ‘I am aware of this issue, not least because the local Members of Parliament in the Grimsby area have come to see me to talk about this industry. What matters is that we go on being an economy that wants to attract businesses, growth and jobs. That means keeping our inflation down, keeping our taxes down, keeping our corporate taxes down and, I would also argue, keeping our country together.’
But Whiteford today expressed disappointment at what she described as the failure of Cameron to offer any practical help or support for workers facing uncertainty over the future of the Young’s Seafood factory in Fraserburgh where jobs are under threat.
She said: ‘It is extremely disappointing that the Prime Minister was not able to offer any practical help or reassurance for people in Fraserburgh at a time of great uncertainty.
‘The Scottish government has been doing everything in its power to protect these jobs in Fraserburgh, identifying ways the company can cut costs, helping to highlight new market opportunities, and offering to match any public funding programme offered elsewhere, providing this can be done within the law.
‘Today I gave David Cameron, who is, after all, Prime Minister of the whole UK, the opportunity to indicate his support for the people of Fraserburgh. It’s deeply disappointing that he didn’t take that opportunity.’