The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has expressed its concern at the dramatic fall in food and drink exports from the UK to the EU since Boris Johnson’s ill-conceived Brexit deal.
Exporters across Scotland and the UK are suffering as sales of milk and cream to the EU are down an incredible 96% - with chicken and beef exports down by almost 80%.
Overall, export barriers created by Brexit have cost exporters more than £1,100 million since the start of the year.
The FDF is now urging the UK Tory government to conduct “essential” talks with the EU as a matter of urgency or face severe consequences.
Scotland's Trade Minister Ivan McKee said:
“Scotland has been completely ignored throughout the whole Brexit process, and we are now paying the price of Tory incompetence with a deal that hampers every aspect of our trade.
“Our long-standing ties – cultivated with our European neighbours – have been ripped apart by a Brexit agreement that we did not vote for. Our rural areas are also crying out for help – yet the Tories remain silent.
Kenneth Gibson added:
“Having served on the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee until March, this news comes as no surprise.
“Week after week, I spoke to industry representatives such as Charlie Adam, Vice-President of the National Farmers Union Scotland and James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink and week after week, they reported how their pleas for assistance and extensions were being ignored by the UK Tory Government.
“We also shouldn’t forget that Scotland’s six Tory MPs and its only Labour MP voted in favour of this terrible deal – only the SNP stood and continues to stand up for Scotland.”
“Only by voting SNP on 06 May can we truly protect our food and drinks sector and put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands – and nobody else’s."