Union President Uses AgriScot Platform to Call for Politicians to Deliver Certainty

NFU Scotland’s President Andrew McCornick has used Scotland’s biggest one-day agricultural event to call for politicians across all parliaments to deliver certainty to farmers and crofters on the long-term future of the sector.

Speaking at AgriScot, staged at Ingliston near Edinburgh, Mr McCornick said the publication of the draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and the outline Political Declaration on the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, was progress and took the prospect of a deeply damaging default of a ‘no deal’ off the table.

Mr McCornick shared the platform at AgriScot with Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing.

Mr McCornick said: “The draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, while not perfect, will ensure that there are no hard barriers on the day we leave the European Union, and will allow trade in agricultural goods and UK food & drink to continue throughout the transition period largely as before.  

“This opportunity needs to be taken as it offers free and frictionless trade, no tariffs, no non-tariff barriers and no resorting to WTO rules on day one.  Importantly, it also presents a pathway to future trading arrangements being put in place.

“That same level of certainty must also be delivered around the Agriculture Bill passing through Westminster just now. We issued a clear statement last week on the concerns we have around elements of the Bill and Scotland’s part in it.

“We shared those concerns both in writing and in person with the Cabinet Secretary last week where we sought assurances on the future of the industry.

“To allay fears and deliver certainty, we need clarity on Scotland’s ability to deliver support both in 2019 and 2020 but also to have the ability to design and implement a new, fully supported agricultural policy for Scotland beyond that date.

“Given the uncertainties around Brexit, we need both Westminster and Holyrood to make some very clear and meaningful commitments to our industry.  I am not interested in all the political machinations around this process.

“NFU Scotland’s commitment and focus is to ensure that we have a profitable and sustainable future in this brave new world and we will be resolute in our pursuit of that on behalf of our members.

“To that end, we are midway through a series of 13 future policy roadshows that will take us the length and breadth of the country, by the end of which we will have met many hundreds of our members.

“NFU Scotland’s ‘Steps to Change – A New Agricultural Policy for Scotland’, launched in late March represents the most complete vision for post-Brexit agricultural policy.  The current round of roadshows will see us fine tune that vision and give us a clear mandate as we enter the most crucial period of policy negotiations for a generation.”  Ends

Notes to Editors

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:

News Article No.: 159/18

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