COVID-19 support for the food and drink sector

Find out what support is available to help food and drink businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joint statement from food and drink sector industry bodies

In response to the closure of Scotland’s schools and current social distancing advice, Scotland’s leading farming, fishing, food and drink organisations are urging businesses to follow some critical steps to reduce staffing to the bare essentials required to secure Scotland’s food supply.

Food and drink businesses are asked to do the following, if they have not done so already:

  • Reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number required to maintain the production of essential goods.
  • DO NOT contact your local authority to make the case for key worker designation unless it is the measure of last resort. All other measures must be explored first (e.g. shift changes, halting some production lines, alternative childcare arrangements)
  • If you do contact your local authority, only seek designation for “business critical” roles.

This statement was issued by the following industry bodies:

Scotland Food & Drink, FDF Scotland, Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Seafood Scotland, Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Scottish Seafood Association, Scottish Association Meat Wholesalers (SAMW), Dairy UK, Agricultural Industries Confederation Scotland (AIC Scotland) and Scottish Bakers. 

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Coronavirus support for seafood fishing industry

Extra payments to help sector through coronavirus outbreak.

The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.

An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.

Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to:

The scheme is composed of the following elements:

  • full time is being defined as where a vessel has recorded landings of £20,000 or more. This is the same limit that has been applied in previous schemesvessels that are under 12 metres in length and were registered in Scotland on the 18 March 2020
  • earnings are defined as recorded landing income from sales notes from 2019. These data are submitted to Marine Scotland by buyers
  • monthly payments are based on monthly average 2019 sales income
  • wrasse catching vessels will not be included in this initial scheme as their markets remain largely uninterrupted
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Support from Scotland Food and Drink

Scotland Food & Drink, the industry leadership trade association have a lot of useful information and signposts to support.

You can sign-up to receive daily industry updates from Scotland Food and Drink direct to your email box. 

There's also key FAQ's for different sub-sectors such as distilleries and breweries and farming, as well as information on issues such as key worker designation. 

Visit Scotland Food and Drink

Food Standards Scotland Q&A

Support for fruit and vegetable growers recruitment needs

Scotland’s farming union has launched a service to help Scottish fruit and vegetable growers recruit workers who have lost their jobs or are on unpaid leave due to COVID-19.

For those businesses looking to recruit, there is a labour requirement form to complete and return to NFUS allowing details to be added to an interactive map of employment opportunities. For those looking for employment, they are asked to apply using the contact details provided by each farm on the website.

Visit the NFU Scotland

Find Business Support portal has been created as a joint partnership portal for all businesses support information in Scotland. We are feeding into the information their, along with Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway and Skills Development Scotland. There a dedicated section in relation to Coronavirus being updated daily, seven days a week. 

Another good source of information is to sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660. The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the Covid-19 team. Please be aware that understandably this service is being very heavily used at the moment though. 

Visit Find Business Support