Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Forum Snub

28 August 2008

A Highlands and Islands MSP is calling on the Scottish Government to reverse a decision which has snubbed the local food and drink industry.

There has been an outcry following the announcement last week by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead that the members of a new food and drink forum which will lead Scottish food policy did not include a single representative from the Highlands and Islands.

MSP Peter Peacock has now written to the Minister urging him to take steps to reverse this baffling decision.

"The food and drink industry is a vital part of the economy and life of the Highlands and Islands.

"The area is a major player in this industry and is home to a very significant proportion of Scotlandís iconic and quality produce.

"It is untenable that the next stages of the national food and drink policy can be properly formulated without the experience and expertise from this vital part of the countryís industry

"It is particularly offensive that the Scottish Government does not seem to have recognised that the leaders of the Highlands and Islands food industry have the experience and expertise which would benefit of the whole of Scotland.

"I would urge the minister to rectify this snub to the Highland industry and select someone from the many appropriate experts the area has to offer," said Mr Peacock.

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