MP calls for Westminster funding access for fishermen

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Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has called on Westminster to ensure fisherman will still have access to key funding after Brexit.

At present, grants are available to fishermen from the European Fisheries Fund, where they can apply for up to eighty per cent of the cost of work clothing, as well as Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs).

It is crucial that fishermen are supported in making modifications to vessels and in purchasing PFDs and PLBs, which are essential for their safety and livelihood.

Mr MacNeil has written to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He wants him to clarify how fishermen will be able to access funding for safety measures after leaving the European Union.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘Safety at sea should be a priority. ‘There are now additional legal requirements on fishermen to wear PFDs at sea in an effort to save lives and the long-term plan needs to be to prevent fishermen going overboard in the first place by improving safety features on fishing boats.

He added: ‘This funding is crucial for the safety of the Scottish fleet and I hope the UK Government has made provision for this to continue.’

Currently, the plans for the UK government concerning funding for fishermen post-Brexit are unclear. As the deadline for leaving the EU looms every closer, however, fishermen will be keen to know just how they will be affected in terms of funding, or a potential lack of it.