FIFE MP SHARES FARMERS’ DISAPPOINTMENT ON UK’S BREXIT POSITION
Peter Grant, the SNP Spokesperson for Europe, has called for the UK Government to “listen to farmers both north and south of the border” who depend on frictionless trade with Europe.
His comments come a day after Scotland’s national farmers’ union (NFU Scotland), which represents 9,000 members, released a statement saying they were disappointed that the UK Government has again ruled out continued membership of the EU’s Customs Union and "without setting out an alternative or recognising what this will mean for food and farming in the UK."
The farmers’ unions in both Scotland and England & Wales, as well as the National Sheep Association, have all stated in the past that access to the Single Market and Customs Union is a priority, with England & Wales’ NFU President, Minette Batters, stating last year that to not have Single Market access would be “absolutely disastrous”.
Peter Grant, MP for Glenrothes and Central Fife, said: “It is clear that in both Scotland and the rest of the UK there are a number of real concerns in the agricultural industry on what will happen to the industry post Brexit. Already we’re seeing good quality food being left to rot in the fields because the Government’s ‘Hostile Environment’ is deterring workers from coming here from the rest of the EU. After Brexit our farmers could find themselves struggling to get their crops harvested and then struggling to export them through new layers of red tape.
“I encourage Theresa May to listen to farmers both north and south of the border in their calls to retain our membership of both the Single Market and the Customs Union.
“The SNP position is clear that access to the EU Single Market and Customs Union is the least damaging of the Brexit scenarios and is the best way to save jobs and to let our businesses continue to trade freely with the European market.”
Scotland’s farmers, crofters and growers produce output worth around £2.9bn a year, and are responsible for a large part of Scotland’s £5bn of food and drink exports.
NFU Scotland statement: