Stirling MSP Bruce Crawford has warned of the impact that Brexit will have on Scotland’s food and drink sector during a debate in the Scottish Parliament, marking Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.


During the debate, Mr Crawford said:


“Make no mistake: a no-deal Brexit is a direct and specific threat to the future of Scotland’s highly successful food and drink sector. The fact that about two thirds of food exports go to the EU demonstrates just how valuable the EU market is. All the great work that has been done to ensure that food and drink exports from Scotland reached a record high of £6.3 billion last year would be hugely undermined by crashing out of the EU without a deal. That is a future that I dare not contemplate; I hope that colleagues across the chamber share that view.”


Commenting, Bruce Crawford said:


“Scottish food and Drink Fortnight is a fantastic opportunity to highlight the many successes in the local sector. From excellent whisky and gin distilleries, quality beef and lamb producers, and a highly successful diary industry, I am biased in my view that the Stirling area produces the highest quality food and drink products in the country.


“However, the spectre of Brexit casts a dark shadow this year. The recent Yellowhammer documents released by the UK Government confirm the damage that leaving the EU, and especially leaving without a deal, will have on our food and drink sector, as well as our wider economy.


“The Tory Government have tried talk-up a no-deal Brexit, and trading on World Trade Organization rules, but it’s just not as easy as that – not least because our current WTO tariffs, quotas and subsidies are negotiated through the EU, and the UK would have to take time negotiating a new set of schedules.


“In the meantime, trading tariffs with the EU would be the same for the UK as it would be for any third country that does not currently have a deal with the trading block. Such a scenario would present potentially impossible challenges for many of our country’s food producers.


“Whilst Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is a chance to celebrate the very best of Scottish produce, this year it comes with a very stark warning. The only way to stop the potential damage of Brexit is to stop Brexit.”