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”.

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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.

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