The Tory UK government’s trade deals are threatening to destroy the livelihoods of Scottish Sheep Farmers, says the SNP, industry fears over cheap Australian lamb flooding the market puts pressure on local providers.
With the number of sheep in Australia at their highest levels since 2007, the price of Australian lamb has collapsed over the last six months, with Scottish farmers worrying the abundance of cheaply imported mutton and lamb from the other side of the world will drive local providers out of business.
Since the beginning of 2023, Australian lamb price has nearly halved to around £2.20/kg deadweight, which is less than half the price of Scottish lamb.
The UK government’s post-Brexit trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, allows a significantly larger quantity beef, lamb and dairy from Australia and New Zealand to come into the UK market tariff-free – leading to Scottish farmers having to compete with export powerhouses from overseas.
With the sheep population in Australia predicted to continue to rise, Scottish Farmers are set to feel the squeeze for years to come, if the Tory UK government continues to ignore voices in the industry.
Commenting, Jim Fairlie MSP, who has a farming background, said:
“Under the Tories’ current UK trade deals, the potential for cheap Australian lamb making it onto shelves in Scotland’s supermarkets could very well be the death knell for countless Scottish Sheep Farmers, who will not be able to compete with these export powerhouses.
“Scottish Framers are not just being ignored; they are being offered up on a plate as collateral damage while the shameless Tories at Westminster pursue their fanciful Global Britain agenda, at the expense of meat quality and animal welfare standards.
“Countless communities in Scotland have been built on the backs of their proud farming histories and are in very real danger of being decimated by trade deals that are simply not fit for purpose.
“Only with the powers of independence can we fully protect farming industries in Scotland from the damage of Brexit.”