Majority of food and drink firms ‘unprepared for Brexit’

Industry body Scotland Food and Drink said the industry feels it is in a 'perilous position'.

Brexit: Food and drink businesses feel 'unprepared for Brexit'. Wiratgasem via Getty Images
Brexit: Food and drink businesses feel 'unprepared for Brexit'.

Almost three-quarters of Scotland’s food and drink businesses feel unprepared for Brexit and any resulting disruption, research has found.

Scotland Food and Drink said with a month to go until the transition period ends, the industry feels it is in a “perilous position”.

The industry body has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeking urgent action and assurances around trading arrangements once the transition period ends on December 31.

With many of the new trading rules still unknown, coupled with businesses fighting to survive the impact of the pandemic, the industry has called for a six-month grace period to adjust to whatever the new trading rules are – in particular on the requirement to issue millions of new export certificates for food products.

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Industry leaders will meet Victoria Prentice, a minister in the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on Tuesday to discuss the issues.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “With only one month to go until the end of transition, Scotland’s food and drink industry finds itself in a perilous position.

“Without the reassurances we have asked for, particularly the six-month grace period on export paperwork, there is huge concern among our members and the wider industry that the impact of Brexit could cost millions and tip many businesses over the edge.

“In reality, the Brexit transition period hasn’t actually happened. Businesses have had to focus on surviving the Covid-19 pandemic and, with one month to go, we still don’t know what exactly we’re preparing for. Is it a deal or no-deal?

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“Even without the added financial and logistical pressures of coronavirus, preparing for a completely unknown set of trading regulations and the biggest trading upheaval of a generation is a hugely challenging ask.

“At a time when our industry is still struggling with the £3bn hit of coronavirus, we now risk putting businesses to the wall by not providing time to implement the new regulations.

“It is unacceptable and entirely avoidable.”

The poll of 170 Scotland Food and Drink members found 72% feel unprepared for Brexit.

The body said the EU is the destination for 70% of Scotland’s food exports and the largest market for Scotch whisky.

It has made a number of other requests to the UK Government, including for a commitment to bring forward a package of financial compensation for producers, processors, manufacturers and distributors who encounter losses due to border or market disruption.

It has also asked ministers to finalise arrangements to ensure a smooth passage for seafood consignments across the Channel, and to add food and drink sector roles to the Scottish Shortage Occupation List.

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A UK Government spokesman said:  “The UK Government is working closely with the devolved administration in Scotland and taking steps to ensure we are ready for the end of the Brexit transition period, regardless of the outcome of trade negotiations.

“We are investing £705m in jobs, technology and infrastructure at the border, and providing £84m in grants to support the customs industry.

“With just a month to go, everyone must take action now to prepare, so we are intensifying our engagement with industry through the Brexit Business Taskforce and our public information campaign.”


Coronavirus: Another 18 Omicron cases recorded in Scotland

Scottish Government data shows one coronavirus-linked death and 2067 new Covid cases in the past 24 hours.

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A total of 48 people have contracted the Omicron variant in Scotland.

A total of 18 new cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant have been recorded in Scotland in the past 24 hours, taking the overall number to 48.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde had the largest rise, with 12 more cases, taking its total to 23.

NHS Lanarkshire recorded four new cases in 24 hours and has 13 overall.

One more case was confirmed in the Forth Valley health board area, taking the total to six.

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A case of the new variant was recorded in NHS Lothian for the first time. Case numbers in NHS Highland and NHS Grampian remain at three and two respectively.

Scotland has also recorded one coronavirus-linked death and 2067 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the latest data.

The Scottish Government said Public Health Scotland is aware of an “ongoing processing issue with UK Government lab tests which may impact on cases and tests” in the daily figures and investigations are under way to resolve the problem.

The death toll under the daily measure, of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days, is 9649, but the Scottish Government said registry office are generally closed at the weekend which can impact figures.

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The daily test positivity rate was 9.6%, up from 7.6% the previous day.

There were 586 people in hospital with recently confirmed Covid-19 as of Saturday night and, of these, 45 were in intensive care.

So far, 4,352,104 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination, 3,958,162 have had a second, and 1,859,735 have been given a third dose or booster.

Body found in the search for missing 28-year-old man

The family of Joel McDiarmid has been informed of the discovery.

Police Scotland
Joel McDiarmid went missing in the Bathgate area last month.

A body has been found in the search for a 28-year-old man who went missing in West Lothian last month.

The family of Joel McDiarmid from Bathgate has been informed of the discovery, although formal identification is yet to take place.

There are no suspicious circumstances and a report will be sent to the Procurator Fiscal.


Mountain rescue teams battle blizzard after man injured in avalanche

They assisted a man who injured his leg during an avalanche.

Cairngorm MT via Facebook

A climber who injured his leg during an avalanche in the Scottish Highlands was rescued as mountain teams faced heavy blizzard conditions.

In dramatic footage posted by Cairngorm MRT, rescuers can be seen battling the elements to assist the man.

The climbers were able to self-rescue down to the floor of Coire an t-Sneachda where they were met by rescuers and stretchered back to the ski area.

The footage was captured on Saturday, with multiple reports of avalanches.

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In a Facebook post, Cairngorm MRT wrote: “MRT just back from a call out for an male with a lower leg injury sustained during an avalanche. The climbers were able to self rescue down to the coire floor, where they were met by team members and stretchered back to the Cairngorm ski area.

“There were multiple reports of avalanches in Coire an t-Sneachda this afternoon.

“Many thanks to Cairngorm Mountain for their assistance duringWe rely on public donations to fund the work that we do, if you would like to contribute, you can also go to our website – https://cmrt.org.uk

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 12.50pm on Saturday, December 4, we received a report of two people falling in an avalanche at Coire A S-Sneachda.

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“Officers and the Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Team were dispatched, and the man and woman were later traced at a nearby rescue post.”

“The man was stretchered off the hill and transported to Raigmore Hospital for treatment to a leg injury.”


Teenagers arrested after 21-year-old man stabbed in city centre

The incident took place on Saturday afternoon.

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Police say that the teenagers will appear in court at a later date, whilst the investigation continues.

Two teenagers have been arrested and charged by police after a 21-year-old was stabbed in Glasgow City Centre.

Officers responded to a report of a man being stabbed on Ingram Street at around 3.30pm on Saturday, December 4.

The man was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary and remains there with “serious injuries”.

Police say that the teenagers will appear in court at a later date, whilst the investigation continues.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We were called to a report of a man being stabbed on Ingram Street around 3.30pm on Saturday 4 December 2021.

“A 21-year-old man was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where he remains with serious injuries.

“Two 17-year-old males have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident, and will appear in court at a later date.

“The investigation is continuing.”


Growing concern for missing man after belongings found at loch

Lawrence Penswick was last seen on Babylon Road in Bellshill in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police Scotland
Lawrence Penswick was last seen in the early hours of Friday morning.

Police in North Lanarkshire are appealing for help to find a missing man whose belongings were recovered near Strathclyde Loch.

Officers are looking for 57-year-old Lawrence Penswick, who was last seen around 2.40am on Friday at Babylon Road in Bellshill.

It’s believed he has travelled to Strathclyde Country Park after some of his belongings were recovered near the south side of Strathclyde Loch.

Lawrence is described as a black male, 5ft 10 inches tall, of a medium build and with short black hair.

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He was last seen wearing a grey “bubble” style jacket and a dark-coloured baseball cap.

His family are growing increasingly concerned for his welfare and anyone with information is asked to call 101, citing reference number 2311 of 4 December.

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Former Scotland rugby captain Gary Callander dies aged 62

Callander made six international appearances and captained the side on five of those occasions.

SNS Group
Gary Callander had been living with pancreatic cancer.

Former Scotland captain Gary Callander has died at the age 62.

Callander, who had been living with pancreatic cancer, made six international appearances, skippering the team on five of those occasions.

He also captained Kelso, whose president Scott Forbes, as they announced Callander’s death on Sunday, said his “contribution to the history of the club cannot be overstated”.

With Callander as skipper, Kelso claimed a first Border League title in 50 years in the 1985-86 season.

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He subsequently led the club to the Scottish First Division Championship in 1987-88.

Callander also won secured five Melrose Sevens winners’ medals with the club.

Forbes added in Kelso’s statement on their website: “He was a captain, leader and an outstanding rugby player. He will be sorely missed by his ‘rugby family’.

“Our thoughts are with Gary’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time. May he rest in peace.”


Three people in hospital after multi-vehicle smash on the A9

The two men and a woman were taken to Raigmore Hospital.

© Google Maps 2020
Police have appealed for information who may have information about the incident to contact them.

Two men and a woman were taken to hospital following a three-vehicle crash in the Highlands.

The collision took place on Friday, December 3, at around 6.36pm on the A9 at Cuach, north of Dalwhinnie.

A Black Vauxhall Zafira, a red Audi A3 and a silver Volkswagon Touran were the vehicles involved.

The two men and the woman were taken to Raigmore Hospital where they were treated for their injuries.

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None are believed to be life threatening. 

Police are now appealing for anyone who may have information about the incident to contact them.

Sergeant Neil MacDonald of Roads Policing Unit said: “Our enquiries into the cause of this crash are ongoing and we are appealing to anyone who was in the area at the time to please get in touch.

“In particular, we are keen to speak to anyone who saw the cars or who may have dash-cam footage that can help with our investigation.

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“If you can help, please contact us on 101, quoting reference 2819 of December 3.”


Man arrested over driving offences following pensioner’s death

Police say a man was arrested and then released pending further enquiries after the death of Douglas Forbes.

Police Scotland
Police are investigating the death of Douglas Forbes.

A man has been arrested in relation to driving offences following the death of a pensioner in Edinburgh.

Police Scotland said a 69-year-old man was arrested ater Douglas Forbes, 78, was found fatally injured at Academy Park in the Leith area of the city at around 8.50pm on Thursday night.

The man under arrest has since been released and enquiries are ongoing.

Forbes was pronounced dead at the scene on Thursday.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Following the death of 78-year-old Douglas Forbes, at Academy Park in Edinburgh, on Thursday 2 December, we can confirm a 69-year old man has been arrested in relation to driving offences.

“He’s been released pending further enquiries and the investigation continues.”

Anyone with information can contact 101, quoting incident number 3329 of 2 December 2021.


Final push to restore power to homes impacted by Storm Arwen

Around 30 properties were left without power overnight on Saturday.

STV News
Significant damage was caused by Storm Arwen, with many homes left without power for several days.

Work is being undertaken to connect the final few homes in Scotland left without power as a result of Storm Arwen.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said that bad weather had hampered progress for repair teams on Saturday, which left around 30 properties without power overnight.

It comes after more than 100 military personnel were deployed to assist those without power.

Mark Rough, SSEN’s director of operations, said that field staff are working to reconnect the final homes “as quickly and safely as possible”.

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“The weather conditions have been really challenging for our teams today, but we are continuing to work throughout Saturday night to safely connect the final few homes,” he said.

“Our localised network has sustained significant damage and through a combination of repairs and mobile generation we will continue to work until all power is restored.

“We have over 700 field staff working with support from other network operators and contractors from across Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and everyone is making a real effort to reconnect the final homes as quickly and safely as possible.”

“I’d like to thank customers for their continued patience and apologise for the disruption caused.

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“We continue to work closely with local authorities and local resilience partnerships in Aberdeenshire to support welfare checks to those who remain off supply.” 


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