Publication - Factsheet

Coronavirus (COVID-19): food and drink supply chain support measures

A list of actions we have taken to support the food and drink supply chain during the coronavirus pandemic.

23 Jul 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19): food and drink supply chain support measures

Financial support

  • Fishing industry - £9.5 million to support fishing businesses that have encountered hardship. £6 million Sea Fisheries Intervention Fund to support over 600 under 12 metres fishing vessels with a payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings. £3.5 million grant funding to support fishing vessels over 12 metres in length.
  • Seafood processing - Seafood Business Resilience Fund scheme saw 128 applications processed successfully to a value of £5.6 million helping to support most vulnerable processors.
  • Aquaculture Hardship Fund – £3 million to support aquaculture businesses most at risk of immediate financial ruin.
  • Delivery of over £0.52 billion annual CAP (including Less Favoured Area Support Scheme, Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme, Beef Efficiency Scheme and Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme) and £87 million in historic convergence payments to support a broad cross section of agricultural sectors.
  • £120 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund providing grants for SMEs –opened 30 April. Funding increased on 20 May from £90 million to £120 million to provide additional support for key sectors of the Scottish economy.
  • £20 million fund providing grants to micro and small businesses in tourism and hospitality industry –opened 30 April.
  • 100% business rates relief for businesses across the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors for 12 months.
  • 1.6 rates relief for all properties, reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April.
  • £25k grants for businesses in tourism, retail and hospitality - in addition to the £25k grant on the first property businesses will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties.
  • £10,000 Small Business Grants to all Small Business Bonus Scheme relief recipients; all Rural Relief recipients & all properties eligible for SBBS but in receipt of Nursery/ Disabled Relief.

Regulatory and policy support

  • Lifted restrictions on out-of-hours deliveries for shops and warehouses, and temporarily remove restrictions on store opening hours.
  • Worked with UK Government to bring forward relaxation for drivers hours, and relaxation on vehicle testing.
  • Worked with UK Government to relax competition law for the retail and dairy sectors to enable sharing of resource and information .
  • Introduced 6-month exemption for bags used for delivery or collection of groceries / take-away food from the single use carrier bags charge to minimise contact between staff and customers.
  • Made a number of asks of retailers to help the food and drink industry recover. These stress the importance of helping primary producers and processors and include, a ‘Scottish First’ policy and 100% sourcing of Scottish agri and seafood products over the next 6 months. Other asks include: swift payments times; reopening of fresh produce counters; sector specific promotion; consideration of new supply chain models to better manage issues such as volatility of supply and carcass balance.
  • Facilitated a consumer facing marketing campaign to encourage responsible shopping.
  • Food and drink supply chain workers included with the key worker criteria for new testing regime.
  • Written to major food and drink suppliers across the UK urging them to ensure an equity of supply across their customer base, including wholesalers.
  • COVID-19 helpline launched to support businesses, run by Scottish Enterprise in addition to COVID-19 Business support information being added to website Find Business Support – one stop shop for advice and signposting to support
  • Food Standards Scotland guidance published for food business operators and their employees on infection control and social distancing for food production and manufacturing environments – guidance is a risk assessment tool
  • Agreement reached with local authorities to adopt a more flexible approach issuing Export Health Certificates, and work with UK Government to seek flexibility from 3rd countries on specific requirements (e.g. use of “Crown” paper).
  • Guidance to local authorities on the need for flexibility in respect of food labelling requirements and any associated enforcement, which should be reasonable, proportionate, risk-based and consistent.
  • Food Standards Scotland developing contingency plans for meeting the official control regulation requirement in respect of slaughter houses and cutting plants to ensure continuity of production.
  • Worked with SEPA to introduce temporary relaxations on the use of sea lice medicines that will enable the aquaculture sector to control sea lice in ways that protect against significant, long-term harm to Scotland’s waters.
  • Working with SEPA on potential further measures around wellboats.
  • Working with industry on potential regulatory changes to support Fishing producer Organisations regulate supply of fish to markets.
  • Working with APHA and the other administrations to increase flexibility for poultry keepers required to salmonella test for the National Control Plan.
  • Introduced flexibility with some statutory animal health surveillance where there are difficulties complying with social distancing requirements.
  • Published advice to animal owners (pets, companion animals, and livestock) and recently amended to include advice for horse owners.  Includes information on self-isolating households, travelling to care for animals:-
  • In recognition that livestock markets have a vital link to the food chain, worked with IAAS in developing guidance on how marts can operate during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Animal Health coordinated information on PPE shortages from SSPCA and NFUS, feeding this to the SG procurement, to provide service where organisations can procure PPE if/when existing supply routes are exhausted.
  • Working with dairy and red meat industry to consider EU Commission market management measures around butter and skimmed milk powder, and private storage aid for cheese, butter, sheep, goat and beef.
  • Working with industry, UK Government, and other devolved administrations on the options for supporting dairy farmers most affected by Covid.
  • Funded Lantra to create a Skills Matching Service to respond to the urgent need for skilled workers and volunteers in the land-based industries and animal welfare sector Over 1000 applicants have offered their skills.  
  • Funded SAOS to lead work scoping out the feasibility of dedicated air freight service from Scotland.
  • Commissioned the network of in-market specialists to gather intelligence on the market situation and produce regular updates for industry.
  • Implemented system to provide grocery parcels to the most vulnerable “Shielded” citizens, indirectly providing support to wholesale sector (Brakes, Bidfood and local) affected by closure of hospitality and foodservice.
  • Guidance was first published on 26 May and updated 19 June for retailers and manufacturers to consider how people can safely return to work. Trade unions and industry, including food and drink companies are involved in producing and regularly reviewing the guidance
  • Zero Waste Scotland has provided reactive support to businesses looking to find suitable opportunities to distribute food that would have been wasted due to lockdown / closure. Plans to launch this as a matchmaker service during w/c 7 July 2020. Where requested, ZWS has also provided guidance for businesses who are using lockdown to consider their environmental impact and seeking guidance on ways to reduce food waste in the longer term.
  • Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA monitoring in-vessel composting and anaerobic digestion plants to ensure that capacity is in place to deal with fluctuations in food and garden waste.
  • Inshore fishers who usually target shellfish will now be able to diversify into new markets and access fishing opportunities worth up to £2 million.
  • Guidance published on 11 June for farmers and crofters, to enable all those involved in primary food production to continue to work safely and prevent transmission of COVID-19 as we cautiously ease out of lockdown. 

Examples of industry-led initiatives (in addition to the leadership work being done by industry bodies)

  • Workforce Matching portal: Scotland food and drink and Skills Development Scotland have launched a Job Hub to help match Covid-19 vacancies in the food and drink supply chain from the hospitality industry
  • Consumer Buying Directory: Scotland Food & Drink launched new on-line directory – ‘Support Local’ – listing food and drink businesses that can sell direct to consumers. Formally launched to consumers 18 May -
  • NFUS online recruitment platform for the horticulture sector launched
  • Online platform for the bakery sector launched.