The EU is Scotland’s biggest overseas regional food and drink export market, with exports of food and drink worth £2 billion in 2015. That’s why we believe that the UK as a whole should stay in the European Single Market but, if the UK decides to leave, Scotland should remain a member of the single market. We also want the UK Government to negotiate for tariff-free access to the single market for products such as beef, lamb, cereals and vegetables.
Farming has been an issue devolved to Scotland since 1999 – there must be no question of Westminster taking back powers that are already devolved following Brexit. Powers over rural policy still reserved should also be transferred, and additional powers required to enable us to support our rural economy more fully – for example, on immigration – should also be devolved.
We believe that all payments – including for less favoured areas – should be guaranteed by the UK government until the end of the current CAP payment period in 2020. And since support for farmers will still be needed beyond 2020, there should also be a guarantee that funding will be provided beyond 2020.
Around 8,000 EU nationals have come to live in Scotland and work in our food and drink sector. Every year up to 15,000 seasonal migrant workers also help harvest our world class soft fruit and vegetables. The UK government should guarantee EU nationals’ right to remain in the UK, and safeguard the success of our food and drink sector.