ALISTER Jack has been condemned for claiming to promote Scottish food and drink while "doing nothing” to solve issues created by Brexit.

The Scottish Secretary is hosting the “Taste of Scotland” event on Tuesday to showcase Scotland’s best food and drink producers.

Held at Dover House in Whitehall, the Scotland Office’s London headquarters, the event will aim to show off some of Scotland’s finest products to an audience of global diplomats.

The normally annual event – back for the first time after the pandemic – helps Scottish manufacturers expand their export markets.

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Scottish Secretary Jack said: “Scotland produces some of the most popular and iconic food and drink enjoyed by people at home and across the world.

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting the talented businesses at our ‘Taste of Scotland’ event. Coming ahead of St Andrew's day, it will be a great opportunity to showcase the best of Scotland.

“With our newly published export strategy, the UK Government is equipping Scottish firms with the tools they need to take advantage of new export opportunities opening up around the globe.”

The National: SNP MSP Jim Farlie criticised the Scotland Office for its 'hypocrisy' over the food and drink eventSNP MSP Jim Farlie criticised the Scotland Office for its 'hypocrisy' over the food and drink event

But the SNP hit out at Jack, accusing the Tories of "doing nothing" to tackle the real challenges facing Scotland’s food and drink industry.

SNP MSP Jim Fairlie said: "Tory hypocrisy knows no bounds. Alister Jack and his Conservative colleagues are all too happy to glad-hand at events like this while doing absolutely nothing to address the very real hardships their Brexit has caused to our food and hospitality sectors.

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"If Alister Jack wants to show support for the Scottish food and drink industry he would use the platform of this event to outline exactly how he will personally intervene to address the critical labour shortages harming these businesses - but I won’t hold my breath.”

An array of products will be on display from across Scotland at the event. They will include Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin, Laphroaig single malt, oatcakes from Orkney, Loch Fyne smoked salmon, and luxury scents from Arran.

Also making an appearance will be Scots classics Tunnocks and Irn Bru.

The event follows the launch of the UK Government’s new “made in the UK, sold to the world" plan to support businesses across the UK double global exports.

Responding to Fairlie's criticism of the Taste of Scotland event, a Scotland Office source said it is "beyond belief" that the SNP would attack the event.

They said: "This is an insult to the 18 leading Scottish producers who are proud to showcase their excellent wares at Taste of Scotland.

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"It is beyond belief that an SNP spokesperson is attacking an event that promotes the finest Scottish produce to scores of senior diplomats from around the world and to parliamentarians from throughout the UK. 

"The SNP should be getting behind the UK Government's new export strategy – aimed at increasing our global trade to £1trillion – and they should support Taste of Scotland as their MPs have done in the past."

A UK Government spokesperson added: “The annual ‘Taste of Scotland’ event showcases Scotland’s outstanding food and drink companies to an influential audience of global diplomats and UK parliamentarians, promoting Scottish exports abroad.

“As the UK Government continues to strike progressive new trade deals, our newly-published Export Strategy will further help Scottish companies take advantage of exciting opportunities opening up right across the world.”