UK’s food industry leaders urge politicians to reject No Deal
“Potentially catastrophic impact of not reaching any deal is clear,” say Scotland’s food leaders in letter, adding their voice to a similar letter from the UK’s farmers.
Representatives from across Scotland’s food and drink industry, including James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, David Thomson, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation Scotland and Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, have sent an open letter to politicians urging them to reject a No Deal scenario with the EU over Brexit. It comes on the back of last week’s open letter along similar lines from representatives within the UK farming sector.
Said the letter, “As lead bodies representing Scotland’s £14 billion farming, food and drink industry, we implore politicians of all parties to unite immediately and reject the option of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 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 £2 billion in lost sales annually. That is on top of the short-term chaos resulting from transport delays and labour shortages.
“Indeed, our businesses are already bearing the cost of No Deal, having to spend millions of pounds in time and investment to mitigate the potential disruption that will stem from the UK crashing out of the EU.
“We represent the people who farm Scotland’s land and seas, and food and drink businesses that are the nation’s largest onshore manufacturing industry, employing 120,000 people. The EU accounts for 70 per cent of Scottish food exports annually and it is also the source of crucial inputs and supplies for our sector.
“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. “
MPs in the UK’s Commons vote tomorrow (Tues) on whether or not to accept the deal Prime Minister Theresa May has brokered with the EU.