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

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

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. The UK Gov­ern­ment must give de­tails on how Scot­land’s forestry and fish­ing sec­tors will be funded post-Brexit, Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing has said.

Ahead of a meet­ing be­tween the Depart­ment for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs (De­fra) and the de­volved ad­min­is­tra­tions, Mr Ewing said that de­ci­sions on fund­ing must be made to pro­vide greater clar­ity.

The sec­tors cur­rently re­ceive in­vest­ment from EU fund­ing schemes such as the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund (EMFF), and Pil­lar 2 Ru­ral Devel­op­ment funds for forestry.

Mr Ewing said: “The po­ten­tial neg­a­tive im­pact of Brexit on Scot­land’s ru­ral econ­omy is be­com­ing clearer all the time.

“Although I wel­come the UK Gov­ern­ment’s re­cent com­mit­ment to long-term ma­rine fund­ing from 2021 com­pa­ra­ble to the Euro­pean Mar­itime and Fish­eries Fund (EMFF), it is vi­tal that this sup­port re­flects the size and re­quire­ments of Scot­land’s ma­rine sec­tor.”

Mr Ewing also stated that fund­ing com­mit­ments should be given to the forestry in­dus­try im­mi­nently, and stated that they must be long-term.

He added: “The Con­fed­er­a­tion of For­est In­dus­tries (Con­for) re­cently wrote to the en­vi­ron­ment sec­re­tary to ex­press their alarm that no guar­an­tees have been pro­vided for ‘Pil­lar 2’ fund­ing, which is vi­tal to that sec­tor, to re­main post-Brexit.

“With only a few months to go, it’s com­pletely un­ac­cept­able that Scot­land is still be­ing kept in the dark. Peo­ple’s liveli­hoods are at stake, and I in­tend to get an­swers soon.”

MO­MENT OF TRUTH: Theresa May will hold a vote on her with­drawal deal to­mor­row, with Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn promis­ing a no-con­fi­dence vote if it should fail

Scot­tish agri­cul­tural out­put on show at the AgriS­cot show at Inglis­ton, Ed­in­burgh

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.