Scottish farmers at risk – research

Fergus Ewing

Scottish farmers are at risk if the UK leaves the single market and customs union, a new study has concluded.

The independent study, conducted by SRUC and funded by Scottish Government, analysed the potential economic impact of three post-Brexit trade scenarios on the beef, sheep, dairy and crop sectors.

The scenarios were: a bespoke free trade deal with the EU similar to the single market; World Trade Organisation default most Favoured Nation tariffs; and unilateral trade liberalisation.

According to the report, all three will leave farmers worse off compared to the current trade arrangements, with some or all producers facing lower returns.

Rural Secretary Fergus Ewing, said: “This study confirms once again what the Scottish Government has been saying all along – that the interests of farmers are best served by remaining within the EU.”

SRUC senior agricultural economist Steven Thomson said: “The findings reiterate how vulnerable hill farming systems are to trade deals and policy choices, stressing the need to take the disadvantaged areas into account during the Brexit process.”