Calls for compensation for businesses hit by port disruption

The Rural Economy Secretary is calling for compensation for businesses following the closure of French ports.

Calls for compensation for businesses hit by port disruption Chris J Ratcliffe via Getty Images
Compensation: Fergus Ewing calls for support for businesses affected by port disruption.

Compensation is urgently required for businesses that have suffered losses as a result of the closure of French ports, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has said.

France announced a ban on hauliers taking freight across the Channel on Sunday night amid fears over the spread of a more infectious strain of coronavirus.

Crossings from Dover have resumed but thousands of HGVs are still being held in Kent, with drivers being tested for Covid-19 before they are allowed into France.

In a letter to the UK Government, Mr Ewing has reiterated calls for the prioritisation approach for fresh and live seafood and day-old chicks, which would reduce food wastage and loss of profits.

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His letters ends with a call to extend the end of the Brexit transition period with the EU, to provide companies with time to adapt and eliminate any further disastrous disruption at ports affecting UK businesses and consumers.

Mr Ewing said: “We need urgent support for businesses that stand to lose hundreds of thousands of pounds because they have missed Christmas delivery deadlines due to the closure of the ports or the products were ruined in transit.

“In a year where the food and drink sector has been absolutely devastated by the impacts of Covid, they do not need this loss to top it off.

“Industry estimate that £5m of food should be moving from Scotland into France every day this week. They need the UK Government to prioritise products that are likely to spoil if they are made to wait and they need that to happen now.”