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Wednesday, 14 March 2018 06:01

TORIES “MUST NOT LEAVE FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR TO ROT”

WARNING COMES AS SCOTTISH FOOD AND DRINK EXPORT BOOM REVEALED
 
Latest HMRC figures showing the ever increasing importance of Scotland’s Food and Drink sector have led to warnings from the SNP for the Tories to “not leave the sector to rot” with their reckless Brexit plans.
 

The statistics revealed that overseas food and drink exports rose by 11% over the last year – part of a 70% increase in food and drink exports since 2007. Exports of Scotch Whisky were valued at £4.4 billion – an increase of over £350 million that was driven by increased exports to Europe, which are now worth £1.4 billion to Scotland’s economy.
 
The strong export figures to Europe – which remains Scotland’s largest overseas export market for food and drink, and for Scotch Whisky – underlines the threat to Scottish jobs and industries from the Tories’ dangerous plans to leave the EU single market, and the growing strength of Scottish produce as a brand.
 
Commenting, SNP MSP Gail Ross, who is Deputy Convener of Holyrood’s Rural Economy committee, said:
 
“These are very strong export figures – showing yet again the world-class reputation that Scottish produce has.
 
“But what they make perfectly clear is the danger that Tory Brexit plans pose to our food and drink sector – Scottish produce has a huge and burgeoning market in Europe, and the Tories cannot be allowed to leave the sector to rot by putting up trade barriers.
 
“We need continued easy access to the world’s single biggest marketplace in order to sell our world-leading food and drink products – whether that is Scotch Whisky, Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, or our vast array of seafood. As a case in point, we sold an additional £115 million worth of seafood to Europe in 2017 compared to 2016. We need to be able to sell freely to Europe.
 
“Not only that, we also need to protect the reputation of Scottish produce and continue being able to promote Scotland as a brand – yet the Tories’ refusal to sign up to vital food name protections after Brexit puts this under threat too.
 
“It is absolutely breathtaking that the Tories are prepared to put this success and the jobs involved at risk because of their obsession with delivering a hard Brexit – they think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it, but the Scottish Government will always stand up to protect Scotland’s world class food and drink produce.”
 

Table 1: Scotland Food and Drink Exports, 2017, 2016 and 2007 £m

  2017 2016 2007 2016-2017 £m Change 2016-2017 % Change 2007-2017 £m Change 2007-2017 % Change
Live Animals 45 61 42 -16 -26% 3 7%
Meat 99 97 38 2 2% 61 163%
Dairy & Eggs 49 44 49 5 12% 0 0%
Fish & Seafood 944 768 448 176 23% 497 111%
Cereals 179 173 56 6 3% 123 218%
Fruit & Vegetables 62 64 24 -1 -2% 38 162%
Sugar & Honey 23 18 6 5 27% 17 274%
Tea & Coffee 21 17 18 4 21% 3 15%
Animal Feed 174 147 16 28 19% 158 986%
Miscellaneous 41 36 15 6 16% 27 181%
Total Food & Live Animals 1,638 1,425 712 214 15% 927 130%
Drink1] 4,359 4,002 2,825 356 9% 1,534 54%
Total Food & Drink 5,997 5,427 3,536 570 11% 2,461 70%

 
Table 2: Scotland Food Exports, by Region, 2017, 2016 and 2007 £m

  2017 2016 2007 2016-2017 £m Change 2016-2017 % Change 2007-2017 £m Change 2007-2017 % Change
European Community 1,107 982 543 125 13% 564 104%
Asia and Oceania 216 155 30 61 39% 187 632%
Eastern Europe 7 6 52 2 28% -45 -86%
Latin America & Caribbean 10 6 3 3 50% 7 272%
Middle East & N Africa 67 69 26 -2 -3% 42 162%
North America 152 116 39 36 31% 112 285%
Sub-Saharan Africa 20 29 7 -8 -29% 14 196%
Western Europe exc EC 59 61 13 -3 -5% 46 366%
Total Overseas 1,638 1,425 712 214 15% 927 130%

 
Table 3: Scotch Whisky Exports from the UK, by Region, 2017, 2016 and 2007 £m

  2017 2016 2007 2016-2017 £m Change 2016-2017 % Change 2007-2017 £m Change 2007-2017 % Change
European Community 1,373 1,235 1,093 138 11% 280 26%
Asia and Oceania 980 895 623 86 10% 357 57%
Eastern Europe 24 17 35 6 36% -11 -32%
Latin America & Caribbean 336 339 330 -3 -1% 7 2%
Middle East & N Africa 262 234 89 28 12% 173 194%
North America 1,116 1,041 491 75 7% 625 127%
Sub-Saharan Africa 172 151 114 22 14% 58 51%
Western Europe exc EC 95 91 50 4 4% 45 91%
Total Overseas 4,359 4,002 2,825 356 9% 1,534 54%

 
Source – HMRC Regional Trade Statistics and Overseas Trade Statistics.

 
[1] Drink exports are defined as exports of Scotch whisky from the UK as per SFD target. 
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