Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has welcomed statistics revealing the annual turnover for the food and drink industry reached record levels in 2014 – but has warned that losing Scotland’s European Union membership could prove damaging to the sector. The Scottish food and drink industry had a turnover of £14.4 billion in 2014.
Figures also revealed that food manufacturing grew at twice the rate of the UK average between 2008 and 2014, increasing by 43% in Scotland compared to 21% in the UK. The figures show the strength of the Scottish food and drink sector – but Ms Crawley has warned that the potential loss of free trade after Brexit will put exports in this sector under threat. Commenting, Angela said:
“These figures are to be welcomed and show how important the food and drink industry is to Scotland’s economy. From salmon to whisky, people across the world see Scottish produce as some of the finest available – and it is no surprise to see the turnover in the industry continue to grow.
“However, it is also clear how important exports are to Scotland’s food and drink industry, particularly those to the rest of the EU. Lanark and Hamilton East is home to many farmers and businesses such as Borders Biscuits in Lanark relying on the free movement of trade across Europe.
“The UK Government must urgently provide reassurance to my constituents that this access to the world’s largest single market will be maintained after Brexit.
“People across Scotland voted to remain in the European Union in June – and to be threatened with withdrawal from this against our will is simply unacceptable. The lack of certainty that the UK Government has been able to provide – to either businesses on the issue of exports, or to EU citizens on their right to remain – has been nothing short of shameful.
“It is clear how important exports are to the food and drink industry, which itself is so vital to jobs across Scotland. The UK Government must provide certainty that we will not lose access to the single market – failure to do so would prove deeply damaging to Scotland’s economy.”