Letter to Number Ten
Food and drink groups want six-months Brexit grace
James Withers: ‘time not on our side’ (pic: Terry Murden)
Scotland’s food and drink industry is urging the Prime Minister to negotiate “six months grace” when the Brexit transition period ends.
Eleven trade groups representing producers and wholesalers say this will allow businesses to adjust to the new trading rules.
With less than 60 days until the UK enters into new historic trading arrangements, the industry groups have written to Boris Johnson saying the industry faces a “perilous situation”.
Signatories include Scotland Food & Drink, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and the Scottish Seafood Association.
“Time is not on our side and there is an enormous task that lies ahead to get businesses ready and support them through the coming months,” they say.
Topping a list of demands is a six-month period of grace that would “enable businesses to trade with the new rules but without fear of significant border disruption, enforcement action and loss of further revenue”.
They say that most critically for Scotland is the need for “a six-month derogation from the requirement to produce export health certificates and other export certification including haulage permits.
“To be clear, there is no system available that can cope with the increased demand in EHCs likely to be required from 1 January”.
They also want a package of financial compensation for producers, processors, manufacturers and distributors who encounter loses as a direct result of border or market disruption.
Food and drink is one of Scotland’s fastest growing and globally recognised sectors, with a value of £15 billion per annum and employing 120,000 people.
The letter has been sent to Downing Street because George Eustice, Secretary of State at DEFRA, has not replied to a similar missive sent seven weeks ago.
“Needless to say this is enormously disappointing and leaves us questioning the commitment to acknowledge, let alone address, our concerns,” say the trade groups.
Full list of signatories:
Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers, Chief Executive
Food and Drink Federation Scotland, David Thomson, Chief Executive
National Farmers’ _Union Scotland, Scott Walker, Chief Executive
Quality Meat Scotland, Alan Clarke, Chief Executive
Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, Tim Bailey, Chief Executive
Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Martin Morgan, Executive Manager
Scottish Bakers, Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive
Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Tavish Scott, Chief Executive Designate
Scottish Seafood Association, Jimmy Buchan, Chief Executive
Scottish Wholesale Association, Colin Smith, Chief Executive
Seafood Scotland, Donna Fordyce, Head of Seafood Scotland