Associate feature: Securing the best future for food and drink

Written by David Thomson on 16 January 2017 in Comment

David Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland, on growing the food and drink sector

Since the UK decided to leave the European Union, FDF Scotland has worked with the UK and Scottish Governments to understand the impact on our workforce, trading, market access, food safety and regulation.

We are determined to secure the best outcome for Scottish and British food and drink manufacturing businesses and their consumers.

We are delighted that the Scottish Government continues to recognise the importance of the food and drink industry to the Scottish economy. Scottish food and drink manufacturers have an annual turnover of around £6.7bn; contribute 1.9bn in gross value added; and provide 36,000 high quality jobs.

This success was highlighted in the Scottish Government’s proposals for Scotland’s place in Europe, which discusses the prospect of the UK remaining in the European single market after leaving the EU. Most of our members benefit from the single market through exporting to the EU, sourcing ingredients or materials from there or recruiting talented workers from other EU countries.

If the UK doesn’t stay part of the single market the Scottish Government suggests exploring different options for Scotland.  The UK Government has already indicated this would be unrealistic.  

The Scottish Government also recommends safeguarding and ‘significantly’ expanding the powers of the Scottish Parliament. As details emerge we will start to understand what any new powers would mean for food and drink. 

There is a lot at stake, and our businesses need clarity. That’s why Holyrood and Westminster must work together to ensure a secure future for our food and drink companies and their workers as we begin to exit the EU. FDF Scotland will continue to work with UK and Scottish Governments to ensure our vital industry continues to thrive.

David Thomson is CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland 

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