Friday, 24 June 2011
Food And Drink Subsidies
Fifteen Scottish rural food and drink companies are to share £3.7 million in government money.
One of the organisations which secured just under £1.6 million is a Taste of Arran, a cop-operative if firms based on the Firth of Clyde island. It plans to build a factory for the production of milk, ice-cream, cheeses and oatcakes and create 37 new jobs.
This is the tenth year of financial awards from the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Scheme (FPMC) which launched in 2008 and has provided a total of £30m of funding for small to medium-sized businesses across Scotland.
I'm slightly uncomfortable with these awards. The food and drink industry is no different to any other manufacturing business, therefore surely it should be supported by Scottish Enterprise. SE spends a considerable amount of taxpayers' money so why is the food and drink industry singled out for preferential treatment.
The Scottish Organic Producers Association at Ingliston will receive £8,442 of funding towards a feasibility study to investigate Scotland's current organic processing capacity. I agree with money being spent towards the 'greater good' of the country, but is it the taxpayers' place to be funding Organics Ltd of Forres which will receive £150,000 towards the salaries and associated costs of a Marketing and Sales Manager and Business Development Executive?
Many of the other beneficiaries are receiving money towards new buildings, plant and equipment. Surely it isn't up to Scottish taxpayers to pay for such capital investment when the only people who will profit are the individual companies.
When we're having to cut back on public services which benefit many, it seems rather out of place to be spending large amounts on the few.