Liberal Democrats on Cornwall Council have welcomed a £10million package to protect Cornwall’s small fishing boat fleet.
he £10 million support scheme is aimed at the fishing and aquaculture sectors; grants will be payable from Monday 22 April.
Geoff Brown, Lib Dem cabinet member for Transport on Cornwall Council first proposed that a specialised fund to be provided for Newquay’s and other local fishing fleets back in March before the effect of the lockdown was fully realised.
Geoff said: “The plight of fishermen, has been a personal mission for me starting with the problems of the appalling winter season back in March before the lockdown and I’m absolutely delighted that my and Cornwall Council's representations amongst many others have paid off. The appalling winter weather alone made some Government action necessary but the advent of Covid-19 has made the situation even more dire. Our Newquay fishing fleet sells to a number of main merchants, these have now all closed their doors as the bulk of their products go for export and they cannot cope with large volumes of supply locally.
“While I was grateful for the cross-party support for a motion to Cornwall Council to urge Government support for the fishing industry, events have simply moved to quickly and I am delighted to say that lobbying government for an aid package for fishermen who do not own property and therefore are excluded from the support offered to most businesses through cancellation of business rates seems to have paid off.
“Whilst the financial package announced is extremely welcome, the government needs to sort out eligibility for this fund quickly as local fishing traders and their families are already suffering.”