Scottish Bakers has welcomed a visit from Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands to McGhee’s Bakery in Glasgow, in a visit to see Scottish bakers in action as they work to keep fresh baked goods on the shelves including crispy rolls and potato scones.
Ms Gougeon was welcomed by Scottish Bakers’ President Ian McGhee, who is also Production Director at his family’s bakery business and Chief Executive Alasdair Smith. She was there to listen about the efforts of the Scottish Bakers members in baking during the height of the pandemic as a vital point in Scotland’s food chain.
The primary topic of conversation centered around how challenging the current economic environment is for Scottish Bakers members with rising energy and ingredients costs placing “significant strain” on bakery owners who are warning against an “existential threat” to their businesses, coupled with a challenging recruitment market with businesses struggling to find new staff and retain existing skilled employees.
Scottish Bakers has welcomed the relief provided through Westminsters for business but remains concerned about the future to the end of March 2023 when the current energy cap for business is scheduled to end.
President Ian McGhee urged the Scottish government to do what it could to help mitigate measures faced by businesses in the current climate including rates relief for business manufacturing sites, delaying potentially costly new regulation and providing access grants to install renewable energy sources.
Scottish Bakers was one of 19 businesses which wrote to the Scottish government’s Deputy First Minister and Interim Finance Secretary asking him to freeze the business rate in the coming financial year.
Ian McGhee reiterated concerns laid out in the letter saying, “Scotland’s business rate is already at a 23-year high but after two turbulent years of the pandemic, the fact is trading conditions remain challenging, the cost of doing business is spiralling, and the near-term economic outlook is weak. We stand ready to trade and to train our way out of the current situation but the Government must do its bit to give us a fighting chance.”
“I was very pleased to visit Auld’s Delicious Desserts and McGhee’s bakery and to see at first hand the facilities and products of these excellent Scottish businesses. I am also thankful for the opportunity to discuss matters of interest to the bakery sector,” commented Mairi Gougeon, Rural Affairs Secretary. “In recent years the sector has been facing unprecedented challenges, with the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and Brexit, and now with the high energy prices, labour shortages as well as the cost of living crisis. I very much appreciate the incredible resilience shown by the businesses in adapting and continuing to help feed the nation.”
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