No-deal ‘would cost food and drink sec­tor £2bn a year’

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS - Scot­tish agri­cul­tural out­put on show at the AgriS­cot show at Inglis­ton, Ed­in­burgh BY TOM PETERKIN PO­LIT­I­CAL EDITOR

Fig­ures in the Scot­tish farm­ing, food and drink in­dus­tries have warned that a no-deal Brexit would cost the sec­tor £2 bil­lion in lost sales each year.

An open let­ter, signed by Scot­land Food and Drink and other in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, urged all po­lit­i­cal par­ties to rule out a no deal, warn­ing it would bring labour short­ages and trans­port chaos.

The let­ter says Scot­land’s farm­ing, food and drink in­dus­try is worth £14bn and “im­plores politi­cians of all par­ties to unite im­me­di­ately and re­ject the op­tion of a no deal Brexit.” It states: “Whilst recog­nis­ing there is no po­lit­i­cal con­sen­sus yet on a fu­ture trade re­la­tion­ship with Europe, the po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic im­pact of not reach­ing any deal is clear.

“We are col­lec­tively hugely am­bi­tious for the growth of our in­dus­try. How­ever, even us­ing the UK Gov­ern­ment’s own pro­jec­tions, we es­ti­mate the cost of no-deal to our in­dus­try would be at least £2bn in lost sales an­nu­ally. That is on top of the short­term chaos re­sult­ing from trans­port de­lays and labour short­ages.

“By Par­lia­ment re­ject­ing a no-deal sce­nario, our in­dus­try ef­fort can fo­cus on shap­ing a fu­ture re­la­tion­ship with the EU that we can work with, not pre­par­ing for the fall­out we can’t. There is no tol­er­ance for no-deal as an op­tion. It must be re­jected now.”

The let­ter was signed by James Withers, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Scot­land Food and Drink; Scott Walker, chief ex­ec­u­tive of NFU Scot­land; Alan Clarke, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Qual­ity Meat Scot­land; David Thom­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Food and Drink Fed­er­a­tion Scot­land; Julie Hes­kethLaird, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion; Alas­dair Smith, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Scot­tish Bak­ers; and James Gra­ham, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scot­tish Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion So­ci­ety.

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