By Jamie Costello
The pressure on the Theresa May increases as key figures in Scotlands farming, food and drink industries have this week urged MPs to unite to avoid a no deal Brexit in a joint open letter.
Adding to this Scottish agricultural secretary Fergus Ewing has vowed that environment secretary Michael Gove is liable to pay billions of pounds to farmers for a ‘no deal Brexit bill.’
The letter from industry executives warned that leaving the EU without a deal would lead to annual industry loses of £2 billion:
“Whilst recognising there is no political consensus yet on a future trade relationship with Europe, the potentially catastrophic impact of not reaching any deal is clear.
We are collectively hugely ambitious for the growth of our industry.
However, even using the UK Government’s own projections, we estimate the cost of no deal to our industry would be at least £2 billion in lost sales annually. That is on top of the short-term chaos resulting from transport delays and labour shortages.”
The letter also described how the mere prospect of leaving the EU without a deal has already led to economic downturn within their industries:
“Our businesses are already bearing the cost of no deal, having to spend millions of pounds in time and investment to mitigate the potential disruption that will stem from the UK crashing out of the EU.
We represent the people who farm Scotland’s land and seas, and food and drink businesses that are the nation’s largest onshore manufacturing industry, employing 120,000 people.
The EU accounts for 70 Per cent of Scottish food exports annually and it is also the source of crucial inputs and supplies for our sector.”
This letter comes just a day before the vote in Parliament, where MPs will vote on May’s Brexit plan. She looks set for humiliation as it is expected MPs will reject her deal leading to what she describes as “parliamentary paralysis”. Adding to this in the last hour Tory whip Gareth Johnson has resigned over disagreements with May’s policy on Northern Ireland.
Further to this Scotlands agricultural secretary Fergus Ewing has vowed that the UK government must be liable to pay billions of pounds for a UK no deal Brexit farming bill, he said:
“It’s a colossal amount of money,
This goes beyond the normal argy-bargy in politics about what the prudent thing to do is and takes it into a whole realm of culpability, which the UK Government has admitted.
I’m not going there to persuade the UK Government a no-deal is catastrophic – they have already admitted that, and that’s what makes their continued playing of the no-deal option so reprehensible.”
“Absolutely correct to maintain calm in the face of uncertainty. Rationing for households and individuals is extremely unlikely”.
Another user, @derycrees said:
“Compensation for losses is an interesting one.. Not without some precedent..”
This news comes amid various retailers and farmers saying they have begun stockpiling on produce and stock incase we depart the EU without a deal, top retailers such as Sainsbury’s and M&S have already begun stocking up on tinned produce- and there are reports the NHS has allegedly begun stockpiling medical equipment.