AS the Scottish Government confirms a £250,000 boost to the promotion of regional produce across Scotland, the chair of the Scottish Affairs Select Committee has appealed for evidence on Scottish brands and how they can survive after Brexit.

Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, told The National the committee would be looking particularly at Scottish brand issues, including Protected Geographical Indication status guaranteed by the EU but not yet agreed to by the Westminster government.

The committee’s inquiry focuses on Scotland’s priorities for future trade relations with both EU and non-EU countries. It will also be looking at how the UK and Scottish governments promote Scottish exports and Scotland as a destination for foreign investment – there is form for submissions on the Parliament website.

Scotland’s exports currently amount to £30 billion and comprise of a range of sectors including food and beverages, professional services and manufacturing. Trade with the EU currently accounts for around £13bn of this figure, and trade with the rest of the world £17bn.

When he launched the inquiry, Wishart said: “The UK Government is about to embark upon Phase 2 of the Brexit negotiations and this will have a huge impact on Scotland’s trading arrangements with the EU and the rest of the world.

“Scotland’s international exports were worth around £29.8bn a year in 2016 and many sectors are securing record export results particularly industries such as food and drink.

The Government will need to ensure that key sectors are protected. The Scottish brand is known and valued throughout the world and has benefited from legal protections.”

Wishart told The National last night: “We know how important the branding is to Scottish food and drink in particular, and we have been making great strides worldwide.

“A lot of work has gone into creating the symbol of excellence that is the Scottish brand so as we look at Phase 2 trade arrangements we will want to know what the UK Government is doing to protect and promote our Scottish brands in order to ensure that our reputation for quality and excellence does not suffer.”

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that funding will be made available for projects supporting locally produced food and drink across Scotland. Small grants of around £5000 each will be made available to promote Scottish produce. Recipients will include local food and drink producers, and regional food and drink networks, who traditionally can find funding difficult to attract.

The fund will open for applications in May and be overseen by Scotland Food & Drink at whose annual conference Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland has some of the most diverse, instantly recognisable regionalised food and drink in the world – from Arbroath smokies, to Stornoway black pudding, Orkney cheese, Shetland lamb, and whiskies from across the country – to name just a few.

“It’s one of our key Programme for Government commitments to promote locally sourced, and locally produced food. The success of those producers then helps to bolster regional economies, and ensures that local food and drink continues to be produced in the area it originates from – which can be integral to a product’s identity.

“Last year was a record one for Scottish exports – with more than £6bn of Scottish food and drink consumed worldwide. Given the continuing lack of clarification from the UK Government regarding our position with those international trading partners, post-Brexit, it’s more important than ever that we ensure a robust market at home for our regional food and drink producers.”