In the week that the UK Government’s flagship European Union (Withdrawal) Bill passed one of its first hurdles in the House of Commons, NFU Scotland has returned to Westminster to meet with cross-party MPs and press the needs of Scottish agriculture from the Brexit negotiations.
In a day of back-to-back meetings with MPs from across the political spectrum, NFUS president, Andrew McCornick; director of policy, Jonnie Hall and political affairs manager, Clare Slipper, discussed what a ‘good deal’ for Scottish food producers would look like.
NFU Scotland stressed the case for a sensible approach to “controlled immigration”, which allows Scottish agriculture and food processing industries access to EU workers for seasonal and permanent, skilled and competent labour.
They also pressed on a re-drawn agricultural policy for Scotland post-Brexit with a ringfenced budget and flexibilities to allow the Scottish Government to develop a sensible and suitable policy that fits all Scottish agriculture.
Discussions on post-Brexit legislative changes were also discussed with MPs ahead of the Union’s document ‘Post-Brexit Priorities for Legislative CHANGE’ being launched next week.
Andrew McCornick said: “There is no doubt that Brexit represents one of the biggest challenges to the farming and crofting sectors.
“Today’s meetings build on discussions that we’ve been having with MPs since June last year on the need to secure sensible trade agreements, continuity in labour supply, and a new agricultural policy post-Brexit to secure the future of our industry.
“However, Brexit also presents a new and important opportunity to replace elements of EU agricultural regulation that are bureaucratic, ineffective or ill-tailored to farming conditions in the UK and Scotland. And it was good to start a dialogue with MPs on these issues ahead of our document launch next week.
“Today’s meetings represent NFUS entering the next phase of its engagement on Brexit as it identifies areas of regulation which we want policy-makers to redress soon after the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill takes effect after EU exit day.
“NFUS welcomes the positive reception it received from parliamentarians of all parties in discussing these vital issues on behalf of its members, and will revisit Westminster within the month to continue these important discussions.”