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Beyond Brexit: Union Discusses EU Exit Negotiations at Westminster Reception

Union’s board meets MPs on Scottish industry priorities

NFU Scotland has mapped out its priorities for Scottish agriculture and the food and drink sector post-Brexit when its Board of Directors hosted over 30 MPs from across the UK at a parliamentary reception in Westminster today (Tuesday 25 October).

The busy event, facilitated by Paul Monaghan MP, is just one of many engagements with parliamentarians following the outcome of June’s referendum, and shone a spotlight on the main priorities for the industry – access to existing and new markets, a new agricultural policy, and importance of non-UK labour on our exit from the EU.

NFU Scotland’s Beyond Brexit documents, published last week, formed the basis for discussion at the reception.  They highlight the importance of a robust trade agreement for Scottish produce, and an adequately funded policy framework for Scottish agriculture which will foster resilience, productivity and profitability for our industry in years to come.

This clear message from the Union has been discussed with government ministers and cross-party politicians from across the political spectrum since the outcome of the referendum. It is also the base from which NFU Scotland will conduct a wide-ranging discussion with its membership over the coming weeks and months, with the aim of arriving at a more detailed policy position before Article 50 is triggered next spring.

Speaking from Westminster, NFU Scotland’s President Allan Bowie said: “Agriculture is at the heart of Scotland’s booming food and drink industry, which returns billions to Scotland’s economy and employs over 360,000 people.

“In addition, Scotland’s farmers and crofters underpin community life in some of the most remote parts of the country, contribute massively to environmental goals, and play a vital role to Scotland’s rural economy.

“It is for this reason that agriculture must not become expendable in the negotiations to leave the EU – a message the Union has continually argued since the referendum outcome. Today’s well-attended event demonstrated that this message is being heard by parliamentarians and decision-makers, which is greatly encouraging.

“The reception was an opportunity to communicate Scotland’s unique priorities and concerns in what is a very uncertain time for all. We are only at the start of what will be a long period of drawn out negotiations, and it is important we set out our principles of trade and agricultural policy for the long-term benefit for our industry at this relatively early stage. It was clear that the MPs at today’s reception responded positively to us setting out these goals. It is now for them to amplify this message.

“We will continue to engage with governments and parliamentarians throughout the process, and look forward to receiving an update on the UK Government’s negotiating position and how our industry can feed our priorities into that, from the Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell when he addresses NFU Scotland’s Autumn Conference at Battleby this Friday.”  

Notes to Editors

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 239/16


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