MSP Jim Fairlie (pictured) will lead a Members’ Business Debate today (Tuesday) on the threat a tariff-free trade deal with countries like Australia will pose to Scotland’s farmers and agriculture sector.
The Perthshire South and Kinross-shire MSP will tell the Scottish Parliament that a trade deal that allows tariff-free access for lamb, beef and pork into the UK presents hugely-damaging consequences to farmers and crofters in Scotland.
The Tory UK government has already faced stern criticism of its proposed deal with Australia, with both the UK and Scottish Presidents of the NFU describing the prospect of tariff-free trade as a ‘total betrayal’ and ‘unbearable’.
Commenting, Jim Fairlie said:
“Scotland’s food exports are world-renowned for their quality and make an incredible contribution to Scotland’s economy.
“It cannot be stressed enough how much damage a tariff-free deal would do to the industry, with farmers and crofters being undercut by imports that are lower in price and lower in quality.
“In many communities, including in my constituency, farming is a way of life and the prospect of a tariff-free deal could mean many family businesses which have been passed on through the generations going out of business.
“The Tories are threatening an agricultural wasteland for Scotland.
“Once again Scotland’s food sector is under threat from the Tories and their pursuit of Brexit.
“They have already wreaked havoc on Scotland’s fishing sector – we cannot see the same happen to our world-class farmers.
“All this demonstrates is that Scotland would be better off as an independent country within the European Union, where industries would be part of the single market and customs union.”