Alex Salmond will today pledge to work with the food and drink industry following a Yes vote to ensure they capitalise on the unprecedented global publicity generated by independence.
Speaking ahead of a visit to new whisky distiller Eden Whisky in St Andrew’s today, Mr Salmond said the publicity generated by a Yes vote, the independence process and independence day itself would be an “opportunity of a lifetime” which Scotland’s food and drink industry must take full advantage of – and pledged to work with the industry on a new global marketing campaign.
The First Minister hailed a report published this week by the Bank of Scotland which predicted 10,000 new jobs will be created in the next five years – with two thirds of companies surveyed expecting to increase their workforce. This comes on the back of the latest food and drink statistics published last month which showed that turnover in the sector is now nearly £14 billion a year.
Scotland already has a £4.5 million Scotland Food and Drink export plan launched in March this year – to target export growth in seven key markets – with a target to grow exports to over £7 billion by 2017 – which the independence day plan will supplement.
Commenting Mr Salmond said:
“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and our booming food and drink industry is just one of our remarkable success stories in recent years.
“More and more people are waking up to the fact that Scotland has a strong and diverse economy on which we can build a more prosperous future with control of key economic levers.
“Scotland is currently in the international spotlight like never before, but the huge publicity generated by a yes vote – and the transition to independence – will be the opportunity of a lifetime for our food and drink sector to extend its global reach even further.
“The Scottish Government has already been working closely with the food and drink industry to put in place Scotland’s £4.5 million food and drink export plan.
“Following a yes vote we will sit down with industry and Food and Drink Scotland to discuss how we can supplement that plan to take full advantage of the unprecedented global publicity, creating thousands of jobs in Scotland and boosting our exports.”