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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-00641: Jackson Carlaw (Eastwood)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 9 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the higher production costs, what support it provides to island-based distillers.

Answered by: Fergus Ewing 22 June 2016

The Scottish Government and its agencies provide a range of business support to Island based distillers through various schemes and initiatives.

Through Highlands and Islands Enterprise we provide a range of support measures to island businesses including financial assistance towards commercial investments, advice through the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service, assistance with staff training programmes, innovation and research and development costs, support with market research overseas trade missions and learning journeys. The Scottish Government also operate the Food Processing , Marketing and Co-operation Grant Scheme, with the primary purpose to support the sustainable economic growth of the food and drink industry in Scotland through greater co-operation and collaboration from primary production and processing to the market.

The following grants have been awarded to island distilleries:

Food Processing Marketing and Co-operation Scheme - Isle of Harris (£1.9million) and R and B Distillers (£0.68 million).

Since 2012 HIE have provided funding for various projects to - Isle of Arran Distillers (£103k), Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd (£1.3million), Kilchoman Distillery (£110k), Shetland Distillery (127k), Torabhaig Distillery (£157k) and Uisge Beatha nan Eilean (£8k).

One of the ways the Scottish Government particularly provides support for the islands is through subsidised freight fares to lifeline ferry services operated by CalMac Ferries Ltd and Serco Northlink Ferries. Since 2007, we have invested just over £1 billion in ferry services (including road equivalent tariff).

We have also invested more than £81 million in piers and harbours since 2007 including £17.8 million towards Ullapool harbour and £8.6 million towards Stornoway harbour to accommodate the new £42 million Ullapool – Stornoway vessel, MV Loch Seaforth.