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Seafood firm boss blames ‘scourge of second homes’ on Scottish isle for driving him out of business

Seafood firm boss blames 'scourge of second homes' on Scottish isle for driving him out of business 2

Seafood firm boss blames ‘scourge of second homes’ on Scottish isle for driving him out of business after struggling to recruit workers because they couldn’t find anywhere to stay

  • Business owner Guy Grieve said ‘real working people’ couldn’t find places to stay
  • He also blamed Brexit, health and safety and global warming for firm’s collapse
  • To add insult to injury, his business premises were turned into a holiday home 
  • Has your business been affected by second-home owners? Email me: [email protected] 

A seafood firm owner who supplied Michelin star restaurants before going bust has blamed the ‘scourge’ of second home owners for the for the failure of his business, claiming workers were priced out of local accommodation.  

The Ethical Seafood Company on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, had turned to home delivery of items including local mussels and Loch Creran oysters during the lockdowns, and supplied many top UK restaurants with hand dived scallops.

But the Covid pandemic ravaged the business, with boats eventually having to be sold, along with the premises, which, adding insult to injury, were turned into a holiday home.

Owner Guy Grieve has since cited an influx of second home owners in the Western Isles which made it hard to find workers due to a lack of accommodation. 

He also admitted that Brexit, health and safety regulations and global warming also played a part.  

Guy said: ‘It will come as no surprise to hear that Covid spelled the beginning of the end for our business.

The Ethical Seafood Company on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, which turned to home delivery of items such local rope grown mussels and Loch Creran oysters during the lockdowns, supplied many top UK restaurants with hand dived scallops. (Pictured: Owner Guy Grieve)

The Ethical Seafood Company on the Isle of Mull, Scotland, which turned to home delivery of items such local rope grown mussels and Loch Creran oysters during the lockdowns, supplied many top UK restaurants with hand dived scallops. (Pictured: Owner Guy Grieve) 

Mr Grieve has since cited an influx of second home owners in the Western Isles which made it hard to find workers due to a lack of accommodation. (Pictured: Tobermory, Isle of Mull)

Mr Grieve has since cited an influx of second home owners in the Western Isles which made it hard to find workers due to a lack of accommodation. (Pictured: Tobermory, Isle of Mull) 

‘In March 2020 we lost our restaurant market overnight, and although we tried our hardest to replace this by building a home delivery service to enthusiastic and supportive customers it was still a massive reduction in our sales.

‘More serious still, and as a direct consequence of Covid, was the loss of our boats, which we had to sell to keep us afloat during this period.’

The business operations relied on a European crew, who left the UK during Covid and then weren’t able to return.

Guy said: ‘This left drastic crew shortages which in the end caused our main supplier to quit fishing altogether and leave Scotland. 

‘It also made it even more difficult to staff our small operation on Mull.

‘We tried to find people to work for us on Mull but with nowhere to stay it is nigh-on impossible to attract people to move there.

Mr Grieve (pictured) also admitted that Brexit, health and safety regulations and global warming also played a part

Mr Grieve (pictured) also admitted that Brexit, health and safety regulations and global warming also played a part

‘The scourge of second homes means that houses stand empty for months waiting to be populated by holiday makers in the summer.

‘Meanwhile real working people, who would contribute to the community, struggle to find places to stay, and any homes that come on the market are snapped up at inflated prices as second homes.

‘It felt like the final insult when in the end we were asked to leave our business premises so that it could be turned into – you guessed it – yet another holiday home.’

He now plans to start a new venture related to the marine environment. 

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