Date lodged: 9 April 2019
To ask the Scottish Government what the potential impact of Brexit, including tariffs, is on Scotland’s dairy sector.
Answered by: Fergus Ewing 10 April 2019
A no deal Brexit is by far the biggest threat to farming and to our successful food and drink sector with a wealth of evidence indicating that Scotland’s farmers and food producers will be worse off under any scenario compared to remaining in the EU and maintaining free trade and freedom of movement. The UK Government’s recent no-deal applied tariff policy, which was made with no prior consultation with Scotland or the other devolved administrations, offers little protection for the dairy sector, as it allows the opening up of the market to cheap imported dairy products by significantly dropping current tariff rates, with the double whammy that any exports to the EU will face much higher rates. Whilst we call for the UK government to remove any possibility of a no deal Brexit, in the meantime I fully agree with many of the leading industry voices in also calling for the UK Government to reconsider their proposed tariffs to remove the potential damage these are likely to cause dairy farmers, processors, creameries and related businesses, putting at risk jobs and livelihoods in Scotland’s rural communities.