Lance Forman, a leading Brexit proponent and the owner of London-based salmon smoker H Forman & Sons, is calling for the UK government to compensate businesses damaged by disruption linked to his country's departure from the European Union.
UK seafood businesses faced a completely upended logistics landscape on Jan. 1, the official departure date. The chaos led to hefty losses from severe shipping delays and lost orders as companies struggled to get paperwork in order.
Forman, a former member of the European Parliament representing the Brexit party, said the current situation is not a Brexit problem, "but a problem of British bureaucracy not being ready in time."
As a result of that failure, Forman said the government needs to pay back companies impacted.
"I think the government really has a duty to support those businesses to compensate them for the losses they might have incurred," Forman told the Independent Business Network in a video interview posted on Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, his comments have attracted derision from people opposed to the UK departure, sparking a back-and-forth on Twitter with his critics.
"Lance Forman went on to become a Brexit ‘Party’ MEP & now wants taxpayers to bail out businesses he helped to scupper. Don't you just love the smell of sovereignty in the morning," wrote Keith Mullin, guitarist with the British rock band The Farm.
Mullin is a scathing critic of the UK-EU fisheries agreement the two parties struck at the end of last year, which he says sold out the seafood sector.
Forman, who describes current problems as "glitches" and "teething issues," responded by saying the transition period should have been spent on the logistics of the UK leaving -- not on negotiating details of the exit terms.
"Sovereignty was never my main issue," Forman said.
This week, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) told IntraFish problems were easing, particularly for larger salmon producers with bigger budgets, who are able to ship large single loads to Europe.
But smaller producers are still forced to consolidate consignments in trucks with other products, which has led to severe delay, sometimes over small clerical errors on paperwork.
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