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NFUS Returns to Westminster as Brexit Day Approaches

With just over four weeks to go until the planned date of EU exit, NFU Scotland has returned to London to meet with Defra officials, HM Treasury officials, and MPs from the major political parties, including the Minister of State for Agriculture,  to press the urgency of finding a deal with the EU that ensures continued free and frictionless trade and an improved policy landscape for its 8,500 members.

The two-day trip for NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick, Director of Policy Jonnie Hall and Political Affairs Manager Clare Slipper follows urgent correspondence from NFU Scotland to the UK Government earlier in the week which highlighted the importance of ensuring any tariff schedule established in the event of a ‘no deal’ would fairly protect all agricultural sectors from market failure.

NFUS is now pressing for urgent and accelerated engagement from UK Government on what it is the whole agricultural sector will require if there is to be a ‘no deal’ Brexit outcome in terms of preventing market failure in the first instance and mitigating the impact for the different agricultural sectors in the event of market upheaval.  

The case is also being made to the UK Government for it to not unilaterally remove tariffs on agri-food produce and to ensure we have the necessary infrastructure and people within the supply chain. At this very late stage, NFUS is also calling for open and honest dialogue between stakeholders and the relevant UK Government departments.

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick commented: “Let’s be clear – the first priority of NFU Scotland and indeed any responsible government and MPs should be finding an EU exit deal that works for the whole economy.

“Beyond that, we want to have a progressive discussion with politicians and policy makers about how we will support our industry in the longer term by new trading arrangements and a new Scottish agricultural policy. But making any meaningful progress on this has been frustrated as the constant political to-ing and fro-ing on the Brexit deal has taken centre stage.

“The level of uncertainty impacting on NFU Scotland’s members by the political process is simply unacceptable. Since the referendum NFU Scotland has consistently offered to work constructively with the UK Government to find a Brexit deal that delivers free and frictionless trade with the EU; a new and improved policy landscape; and access to a workforce from outside the UK. And yet, more than two and a half years on we now find ourselves on the precipice of a possible ‘no deal’. This must be avoided at all costs.

“The purpose of our meetings in London this week is to press the case at the highest levels for a deal like the sort we have been lobbying hard for since 2016 and gathering intelligence on what the likely contingency plans are should we end up in ‘no deal’ territory in a matter of days.

“NFUS is working harder than ever before to push this message with our political contacts. We also need our members to make direct representations to their MPs on why they must deliver the right Brexit deal for our industry. NFUS will do all it can to keep members informed in the next four weeks and strongly encourages all members to engage with us and their political representatives on what their businesses need from Brexit.”

Notes to Editor

  • Pictures from the trip will be available by request from media@nfus.org.uk


Ends

Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 25/19


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