Rural Economy Secretary says European workers crucial to economy.
Scotland values the contribution people from Europe play in our society and economy and the government will work hard to protect their future rights in our country, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said today.
Mr Ewing visited Scotbeef processing plant where he highlighted figures showing the European Union is the biggest destination for Scottish food exports worth a total of £724.3 million in 2015, with food and drink exports worth £1.9 billion in the same period.
He also met with met workers to welcome the role Europeans play in many of our food companies, discuss their concerns and highlight the First Minister's call for the rights of European Union nationals living in Scotland to be protected.
Mr Ewing said:
"Scotland's food and drink industry is one of our economic success stories and our quality produce is known and loved at home and abroad. Our place in the European Union has been key to that success and we must protect it.
"Workers from around Europe are employed in many of our food and drink businesses and I want to reassure them that we value and welcome the role they play in our country – both economically and in terms of civic vibrancy. Europe is also a key destination for much of our food, with exports worth a total of £724.3 million in 2015.
"It is clear that European workers and exports are crucial to the food and drink industry and to our economy. I am committed to helping the First Minister protect our place in Europe and calling for immediate guarantees about the residency status and other rights of those from around Europe that have chosen to make Scotland their home."
Scotbeef CEO Robbie Galloway said:
"The integration of our skilled and semi-skilled European employees with our long-established workforce, has helped Scotbeef in its growth and development over the past decade.
"I am pleased that their integration not only into Scotbeef but into the local communities around our factories is giving them security to allow them to progress their careers and skills within our business."