MP urges talks over west coast fishing industry struggles

Western Isles MP Angus B MacNeil is writing to the UK Government's Minister of State for Immigration, Brandon Lewis MP calling on him to step in to help the West Coast fishing industry as they struggle with a shortage of crew and to meet with fishing representatives.

In March, Mr MacNeil hit out at the Home Office for failing to consider reintroducing a scheme which would allow non-European Economic Area workers to work in the industry.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “The Home Office suggested that the reintroduction of a scheme which would allow non-European Economic Area workers would ‘entrench a reliance on non-EEA labour’. A suggestion which is frankly ridiculous.

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“The inaction from the UK Government’s Home Office is hurting the West Coast Scottish fishing industry as they struggle to crew their vessels and I know of men desperate to return to the west coast to boats they once worked on.

“This affects Northern Ireland too and I would expect the Tories now to make these sensible concessions to communities in Scotland and Northern Ireland which would increase domestic tax revenue and also enable people to send money home to the Philippines.

“Skippers need crew and they have people from non-European Economic Areas ready and willing to work – but the UK Government continues to turn a blind eye and recklessly ignore the crisis hitting our fishing industry. I am therefore, writing to Brendon Lewis MP to invite him to come and meet representatives of the fishing industry in the West Coast of Scotland.”