UK Government accused of abandoning Scottish farmers over Brexit

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

The UK Government has been accused of abandoning Scottish farmers over Brexit after the EU offered extra support for Irish agriculture if there’s no deal.

The accusation was made by SNP Rural Affairs spokeswoman Deidre Brock after EC President Jean Claude Junker promised last week that the EU would give Irish farmers extra cash if the UK crashed out of the bloc.

Ms Brock said: “The EU will support Irish farmers to avoid the worst effects of a no-deal Brexit and there is nothing similar being offered to Scottish farmers by the UK government.

“Leaving the EU without a deal would be disastrous, especially for livestock producers.

“Sheep farmers, in particular, are facing terrible consequences, and they are most likely to be farming on the most marginal land in Scotland and already on the lowest incomes.

“It’s about time that this Tory government finally stood up for farmers by taking a no-deal Brexit off the table.

“If they refuse, they need urgently to set out how they will support farmers and crofters whose livelihoods are affected by their reckless actions, as the EU has done for Ireland.

“Scottish farmers and crofters shouldn’t be left carrying the can and the cost of a no-deal Brexit.”

“But the solidarity and support offered by the EU stands in stark contrast to the actions of the UK.”

Mr Juncker has insisted Ireland will not be left alone and confirmed that the EU was ready to assist Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokeswoman said: “Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the Government’s top priority.

“But it is the job of any responsible government to prepare for all possible outcomes.

“We have already carried out significant no-deal preparations and have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption as much as possible.

“As a part of this, we are in close contact with the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Government, and with all farming sectors including sheep farmers.”