Union Welcome for Wide Ranging Report into Future of Scottish Agriculture

SCOTLAND, UK - NFU Scotland has welcomed the findings of a wide-ranging inquiry into the future of Scottish agriculture, published this morning (31 July).
calendar icon 31 July 2019
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According to NFUS, the report from the Scottish Affairs Committee, launched at SRUC’s Oatridge campus in West Lothian, accurately reflects the immediate challenges facing the Scottish agricultural industry from Brexit and its post-Brexit future.

NFUS gave evidence to the inquiry in person on two occasions, and submitted a detailed written paper setting out its view on the range of themes identified in the report. It is encouraging that the key challenges and proposed solutions identified by NFU Scotland, many of them included in the Union’s ‘Steps to Change’ document, have been supported by the influential committee in this report.

Speaking from the report launch, Director of Policy Jonnie Hall said: “Since the EU referendum in 2016, NFUS has made the strongest possible case for an EU exit deal that delivers on free and frictionless trade with the EU after Brexit. Ruling out damaging export or import tariffs is crucial for almost every sector of Scottish agriculture as is the need for our world-leading standards of production to be upheld in any future trade negotiations. That means a ‘No Deal’ must be avoided at all costs.

“The Committee findings rightly highlight the importance of food and drink Geographical Indicators such as Scotch Beef, Lamb and Whisky and Specially Selected Pork to Scotland to Scotland’s ambitions to further grow our food and drink sector in the future.

“On future support for the sector, NFUS has always argued that an important opportunity presented by Brexit is the ability for Scotland to design and implement a new agricultural policy that is a genuine fit for the unique profile of Scottish agriculture.

“Representing all parts of Scottish agriculture, it is important that sectors currently receiving support continue to do so in the future and at levels equivalent to where we are currently. Each sector of our farming network is highly dependent on another and it is important that no one part of Scottish agriculture is disadvantaged or made uncompetitive as a result of Brexit impacts.

“On future funding, NFUS has consistently argued for a ringfenced and multiannual settlement for current and future policy, that is split amongst the nations of the UK on a much more objective, needs-based and fairer manner.

“We await with interest the outcome of the Bew review into intra-government funding, which is expected next week.

“Finally, the Scottish Affairs Committee has always been extremely supportive of the agricultural industry’s arguments regarding the future immigration system and the requirements of the industry for non-UK workers in seasonal, temporary and permanent posts both on-farm and off-farm.

“Having launched its 2018 Report, ‘Immigration and Scotland’, on an NFUS member’s soft-fruit unit last July, it is pleasing that the committee has reaffirmed its belief in this newly-released report that a permanent and increased Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme is required for the sector, and that the current proposals on the table from the Home Office for permanent workers would be unworkable for the agriculture and food processing sectors.

“The Scottish Affairs Committee must be commended for shining a light on these important issues in this sector-specific inquiry and NFUS will use the findings as added leverage to its lobbying priorities with MPs and UK Government in the coming weeks and months.”

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