Shetland MSP Tavish Scott today warned that the agriculture industry could suffer as a consequence of the UK leaving the European Union. His comments come as Scotland's Rural College researchers concluded that after looking at three possible economic scenarios as a result of Brexit, all three situations saw agriculture suffering and farmers ending up worse off.
The three scenarios - a free trade agreement, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) tariff regime and the unilateral trade liberalisation model - all predicted upheaval and a loss of revenue overall as tariff protection and EU trade arrangements are dismantled.
“Ongoing uncertainty over what the government wants Brexit to look like is causing immense challenges for our agricultural industry. However, we can now see that studies conclude that leaving the EU will hit agriculture. These show that agricultural economic impact instead of growing, will fall when we leave the European Union.
At a practical level, if the demand for cheaper food is the policy of the UK Government then the country will be flooded with cheap imports of beef, lamb and other food stuffs. That will have a detrimental impact on crofters and farmers in Shetland and across the country. We cannot compete on cheap food. We produce quality livestock and finished products for households, restaurants and other buyers. That must be protected and government must recognise that.”