Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the UK Government for leaving out a valuable Scottish export from its Brexit deal.
The First Minister said Boris Johnson’s agreement with the EU – which is expected to be backed by MPs before the December 31 deadline – was a “disastrous outcome” for Scottish farmers.
It comes as seed potatoes – a valuable multi-million pound Scottish export – will not be included in a deal allowing UK crops into the EU from January 1.
The detail was included in a letter sent to agricultural businesses yesterday and seen by BBC News.
The letter from the UK Government said: “Unfortunately the EU have confirmed they will not accept our case for a permanent change to the prohibition on seed potatoes… on the grounds that there is no agreement for GB to be dynamically aligned with EU rules”.
The seed potato industry is largely based in Scotland and the north of England.
Reacting to the news, the First Minister tweeted: “This is a disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers…and like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will.”
The SNP’s rural affairs spokeswoman Deirdre Brock said: “If these reports are true, it would be a terrible negotiating failure on the part of the Tory government – and a devastating blow to an extremely valuable part of Scotland’s booming farming industry.
“Scottish seed potato exports to the EU are worth millions each year – but that is being threatened by Boris Johnson’s plans for an extreme Tory Brexit that Scotland didn’t vote for.
“It is clear that the Tories are selling Scotland’s farming and fishing industry out and planning a total betrayal of our rural communities – with a hard Brexit that will cause serious and lasting damage to exports, jobs, living standards, businesses and the economy.”
Archie Gibson of Agriko UK, a supplier of certified Scottish, seed potatoes, said: “It appears seed is prohibited from sale into EU markets. That means that markets Scottish growers have developed for export over a number of years will in effect not be available to us from January 1.
“We know officials at all levels of government in Scotland and the rest of the UK are well aware of the potential damage to the UK seed industry and have made representations about it.”