NFUS discusses post-Brexit needs for Scottish farming
The National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) recently met with political parties in Westminster to discuss the issues regarding Scottish farming post-Brexit.
With the UK Government’s flagship European Union (Withdrawal) Bill passing one of its first hurdles in the House of Commons, NFU Scotland returned to Westminster to meet with cross-party MPs and press the needs of Scottish agriculture from the Brexit negotiations.
The day consisted of back-to-back meetings with MPs from across the whole political spectrum as well as NFUS President Andrew McCornick, director of policy, Jonnie Hall, and political affairs manager, Clare Slipper, who discussed what a ‘good deal’ for Scottish food producers would look like.
NFUS 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.
The meetings also pressed on a re-drawn agricultural policy for Scotland post-Brexit, with a ring-fenced budget and flexibilities to allow the Scottish government to develop a sensible and suitable policy that will fit all Scottish agriculture.
Post-Brexit legislative changes were also discussed with MPs ahead of the Union’s document ‘Post-Brexit Priorities for Legislative Change’ which is being launched next week.
McCornick commented: “There is no doubt that Brexit represents one of the biggest challenges to the farming and crofting sectors.”
He went on to say that the meeting built on some of the discussions that NFUS has been having with MPs since June last year regarding “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.”
He continued: “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.”
The NFUS President concluded that the meetings represent NFUS entering the next phase of 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.”