UK Government Minister Lord Duncan, partook in a busy day of engagements across Fife and Dundee to meet stakeholders from a range of sectors to hear about their priorities as the UK leaves the EU.
Lord Duncan said:
It has been a delight to visit so many engaging and positive locations. Across several sectors – tourism, education, agriculture and whisky – Scotland has a breadth of vibrant institutions and businesses like those I have visited today which the UK Government is determined to champion, as we leave the EU.
Lord Duncan was given a tour around Broughty Castle, by the Museum’s Fine and Applied Art Section Leader, Anna Robinson, in Dundee who discussed the impact of the tourism economy on the castle and the benefits of the regeneration of Dundee’s waterfront with the new V&A and redevelopment of the surrounding area.
Going on to his alma mater, the University of St Andrews, Lord Duncan then discussed Tier 4 pilots with Professor and Senior Vice-Principal Lorna Milne. Tier 4 pilots are in their second year of running across 4 universities in England. However, a further 23 institutions have been selected to participate including the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. This extension highlights the UK Government’s commitment to supporting UK universities in attracting international talent.
Acknowledging other institutions’ interest in the scheme, Lord Duncan confirmed that he was working with the Home Office on possible extensions to other Scottish universities.
Heading to Allanhill Farm, owned and run by John Mitchell, Lord Duncan took the opportunity to tour the farm which now focusses on soft fruit and cereals, originally opening as a dairy farm. Their fruit is packed on location and marketed to major UK supermarket chains, enjoyed all over the UK. Planting their first crop of strawberries in 1995, Lord Duncan had the opportunity to see their extensive strawberry production.
The UK Government has pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of the parliament, expected in 2022.
Completing a full day of tours, Lord Duncan had the pleasure of visiting Lindores Abbey Distillery. Distilling has taken place on the site as early as 1494 but the old Abbey farm in its current form began filling casks in December 2017, a year which was record-breaking for Scotch whisky according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
The UK Government recognises the Whisky industry’s importance, as it is one of the UK’s most successful export products, exporting more than £4 billion to 180 countries across the world. It constitutes a fifth of all food and drink sold overseas from the UK.
Leaving the EU offers us an opportunity to forge new trading agreements and be a powerful force for free trade and the Whisky industry is a prime example of what the UK has to offer.