SNP MSP for South Scotland Joan McAlpine has said that farmers across Dumfries and Galloway will feel “betrayed” by the Tory Government’s latest plans for a No Deal Brexit.
The UK government has this week announced plans to remove import tariffs in the event of a No Deal – a move that the SNP and the National Farmers Union says puts homegrown produce at a serious disadvantage.
More than half of all Scottish goods exports were sent to Europe in the last quarter but leaving without a deal means that we will face the EU’s Common External Tariff – with tariffs of around 84% on Scotch Beef, 53% on wheat, 48% on Scotch Lamb and 30% on pork.
Joan McAlpine MSP, who convenes the Scottish Parliament committee scrutinising Brexit, has previously raised concerns about the UK Governments proposed Tariffs for ‘no-deal’, many of which were introduced earlier this year without consultation.
Commenting, SNP MSP Joan McAlpine hit out at the plans:
“Local farmers will quite rightly feel betrayed by the conscious decision of this Tory government to sell-out Scottish produce.
“Almost half of our exports go to Europe, so a No Deal Brexit would be seriously damaging for Scottish businesses, jobs and the economy.
“With tariffs of up to 84% on our world-renowned Scotch Beef or 57% on Cheddar cheese, it’s no exaggeration to say that a No Deal will devastate key sectors of our local economy, particularly businesses like ARLA in Lockerbie who have told me they export over 2000 tonnes of cheese to the EU each year.
“I have previously highlighted the negative effects that UK Government measures like dropping tariffs on imported eggs will have on local suppliers, with the potential to flood the market with cheap, poor quality eggs from abroad. Many of these measures were introduced by the UK Government earlier this year with no consultation, which is completely unacceptable and shows a complete disregard for Scotland’s farming community.
“The Scotland Office was telling farmers recently that the No Deal free for all would be reconsidered, but these latest tariffs show that Alister Jack as Secretary of State for Scotland has done nothing to protect the interests of food and drinks producers in his constituency or in Scotland more broadly. This is completely reprehensible.
“The SNP has consistently called for Scotland to remain in the EU so that we can maintain free trade, with no tariffs or other barriers that we currently benefit from within Europe’s Single Market.”
NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said:
“Setting a low or zero tariff rate on the importation of key agricultural products, like cereals, eggs, pork, fruit and veg and some dairy produce will place many of our farmers at a significant disadvantage and undermine any efforts to negotiate new trade arrangements.
“Exports of Scottish produce like lamb and beef to the EU face the prospect of crippling tariffs as we are forced to operate to WTO rules. When we have the ambition to double the size of the farming, food and drink industry in Scotland to £30 billion, the tariff schedule, as proposed by the Government, would place that ambition in jeopardy.”
Attached: NFU infographic detailing UK Govs proposed No Deal Tariffs