The potential impact on the food and drink sector of businesses owned and controlled from outside Scotland was raised at Holyrood last week.

Veteran SNP MSP John Mason quizzed the rural affairs secretary on the issue, arguing that while jobs and turnover were created in Scotland, profits were being sent overseas. He highlighted the majority of the top five whisky and salmon business owners are from outside of Scotland.

He said: “Surely, the Government should be concerned that the profits are leaving Scotland.”

Responding, Mairi Gougeon said: “we want to ensure that we maximise the benefits for Scotland wherever we can.

More News |

“As part of our overall approach to increasing economic growth in Scotland, we have the national strategy for economic transformation and Scotland’s inward investment plan, which aim to support and create a positive business environment that contributes to improvements in commercial confidence and investment, as well as to Scotland’s overall attractiveness as a location for inward investment.

“The benefits of carefully targeted inward investment can be seen across Scotland’s economy. There are supply chain opportunities, and we also see productivity improvements through innovation. Those additional spillover benefits act to create opportunities for existing Scottish-owned businesses by providing them with access to markets and technologies that they might not otherwise have benefited from.

“Through Scotland’s inward investment plan, we seek to attract the knowledge, know-how, products and technologies that do not readily exist in Scotland, to enhance and complement our clusters, supply chains and communities.”

Tory MSP Biran Whittle intervened and asked Ms Gougeon to comment on the need to support the rural economy, support local suppliers and ensure that public food procurement is as strong as it possibly can be.

Ms Gougeon concluded: “In order to address some of the issues around that complex landscape, the key vehicle that we can look at is the good food nation plan; we have recently consulted on the plan and are considering the responses.”