Scotland’s food and drink industry has penned an open letter to Boris Johnson warning of the “perilous situation” facing the sector with less than 60 days until the end of the Brexit transition period.
Industry leaders, including the National Farmers Union, the Federation of Food & Drink and the Scottish Seafood Association, have now called for a six month ‘grace period’ from the end of the transition period.
They also urge the UK government to add food and drink sector roles to the Scottish Shortage Occupation List, provide clarity on the seasonal workers scheme, and commit to a package of financial compensation for those who encounter losses due to Brexit.
The group has yet to receive a reply to a letter and request for a meeting sent to Secretary of State for DEFRA, George Eustice, 7 weeks ago – which they describe as “enormously disappointing.”
Emma Harper MSP said:
“This intervention shows how deeply worried Scotland’s food and drink producers are about the huge threat Brexit now poses to their jobs and businesses – and it should focus minds among the Tories.
“The Prime Minister was repeatedly warned to pause Brexit and extend the transition period – but instead he is taking the UK head-first towards a bad deal or a no deal outcome in the middle of a global pandemic and economic crisis.
“As the UK edges closer to a cliff-edge Brexit, the grim reality for Scotland’s food, drink, seafood and farming industries is really hitting home.
“Scottish jobs and livelihoods are on the line, and now is not the time for reckless games.
“It’s high time Boris Johnson and the Tories started listening to the wishes of Scotland in order to safeguard our world-leading food and drink industry.”