Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 25th May 2023.
The Government recognise the importance of trade in the food and drink sector. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs regularly reviews UK import and export trade statistics, including from the European Union. In April, the Government presented their draft border target operating model for all goods imports into Great Britain. To ensure enough time for proper preparedness, we will implement the model across three milestones between the end of October and
In recent years, Scotland has grown a third of all the UK’s soft fruits. However, exports have been quashed because of Brexit, with UK fruit exports falling by more than half, from £248.5 million in the year ending March 2021 to £113.8 million in the year ending March 2023. Given that Scottish food perishables travel further to Dover and are more sensitive to delays among the sanitary and phytosanitary arrangements, what steps is the Secretary of State taking to remove the Brexit barriers to trade that her Government have imposed on Scottish businesses?
It is the European Union that has put certain checks in place in its export arrangements. We have had a pretty open door since we left the European Union, which is why we are implementing the target operating model to ensure that we introduce further controls, mindful of the biosecurity risks that we face.
Mike Park, the chief executive officer of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association, told The New York Times that his industry members were the “poster boys” of Brexit, but now admit that Brexit has delivered nothing, saying:
“It has left some very negative legacies and hasn’t provided any of the positives we were promised.”
Given the latest polling shows that only 9% think that the decision to leave the EU was more of a success than a failure and 62% describe it as more of a flop, and given the damage to Scotland’s global fresh food and drinks sector, can the Secretary of State finally agree that the only Brexit growth our economy is experiencing is in managed decline?
What can I say? Rubbish. The quota for British fishermen, including Scottish fishermen, has gone up since we left the European Union. We have signed new trade deals, the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership being the latest. We have announced an extra five agricultural attachés around the world, making 16 in total, who will promote great British food, including fish, around the world.