Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News




Richard Lochhead spoke in the Scottish Parliament debate on the upcoming EU referendum, setting out some of the benefits of EU membership for Moray and Scotland. 

In his speech, Mr Lochhead pointed to the massive benefits to the local economy with food and drink exports having access to the free market, benefiting the whisky industry and the thousands of people employed in food and drink production in Moray.  During his speech he also called for a higher level of debate and an end to the myths and the scaremongering from both campaigns.     

The Scottish Parliament voted by 106 votes to 8 for a Scottish Government motion backing “Scotland and the rest of the UK remaining part of the EU”.  Moray’s MSP is urging people to vote to remain in the European Union on June 23rd.

EU membership brings real benefits to rural Scotland, particularly for jobs and the economy:

•           Over 300,000 Scottish jobs were estimated by the Centre for Economic and Business Research to be directly and indirectly associated with exports to the EU in 2011.

•           The EU is the top destination for Scottish exports, receiving 42% of Scotland’s International exports in 2014, worth more than £11 billion.

•           Tourists from other EU countries spent around £800 million in Scotland or about 40 per cent of total international visitor spend.

•           Scotland will receive €4.6 billion to implement the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in Scotland until 2020 – with €3.7 billion going direct to farmers.

Commenting, Mr Lochhead said:

“With less than a month until the polls open for the EU referendum – it is vital that we speak up and speak out about the many ways in which the EU benefits rural Scotland.

“Our rural sector is supported with €4.6 billion of funding through the Common Agricultural Policy – with €3.7 billion worth of payments going to farmers – and with access to a single market of 500 million our food and drink sector has incomparable trading opportunities.

“Tourism plays a vital role in Moray’s economy. Free movement makes it easier for tourists from the rest of the EU to visit Scotland with thousands choosing to com here every year, spending millions of pounds while they’re here. It also provides the opportunity for people with much needed skills to come and contribute to our communities and economy.

“People do have genuine concerns about the European Union and I know from my own experience that it can often take too long to fix damaging regulations and there is a need for decentralisation.  I won’t for a moment pretend the EU is a perfect institution. But I take the view that the only way to change Europe, and the best way forward for Scotland, is to remain and reform the EU not reject it.  That is why I will be voting on 23 June to ensure that Scotland and the UK remain part of the European Union.”

The text of Richard’s speech can be found here: