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A ‘new era’ for Scottish farming in wake of Tory election victory

Farmers in Orkney and across Scotland now face an anxious wait until they discover what a post-Brexit trade deal will mean for the sector.

The head of Scotland’s agricultural industry, NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick has said that the new UK Government must put an end to uncertainty in the sector.

Speaking in the wake of the Conservatives’ biggest majority win since the 1980s, Mr McCornick said farming and crofting in Scotland was entering a new era, and NFU Scotland, which represents around 9,000 people in the industry, will now engage with the new government in a bid to secure a favourable Brexit deal.

He said: “The scale of the election win for the Government brings the reality that, after two years of political stagnation, the UK will leave the European Union.

“There is no doubt that dither and delay has stifled confidence within the Scottish agricultural and food sectors, and it is vital that the new UK Government takes early steps to give certainty.

“The Government has indicated that the necessary legislation to leave the EU on January 31 will be presented to parliament next week.

“Once passed, the real work then begins on agreeing the future trading arrangements with Europe. Those talks are critical to the future of our industry.

“It is these negotiations that will be the real bread and butter of Brexit for NFU Scotland members. That is where the terms of the trade deal between the UK and the EU will be agreed.

“For NFUS, ensuring as free and as frictionless trade in agri-food goods with the EU, which remains our principal market outside of the UK, has been our priority from the start of this process.

“Whether negotiating with the EU, or establishing new trade deals with other countries worldwide, a red line for us is that Scotland’s high standards must be recognised and protected.

“Our members can be reassured that their union has begun engagement with this new parliament today and we will make tracks to Westminster at the earliest opportunity as we enter a new era for Scottish farming and crofting.”