Argyllshire Advertiser leader column – week 14

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Argyll and Bute Council does great work across a whole spectrum of activities as its hard-working staff are expected to do more with less each year.

Our last couple of front page stories may have appeared to be council-bashing, but this is not the intention. We will continue to raise issues where there are perceived injustices, and that is certainly the case with seafood export certificate fees.

Fair enough, our local authority was one of the cheapest for non-EU certificates – but it has shot up from the bottom of the third division to top of the premier price league at warp speed, leaving exporters reeling. There is little commercial thinking behind the decision to hike the fee by 420 per cent rather than staggering any increase over time.

And we are not aware that any councillor raised the matter during the budget preparation – despite the fact this newspaper broke the story before Christmas.

The decision might be harming the goose that lays the golden egg, with unintended consequences for profitability and jobs for suppliers as well as the exporters themselves.