A ‘no deal’ Brexit is ‘not an option’ for Scotland’s farmers and crofters, according to NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick.

The fast-approaching Brexit date on 29 March topped the agenda at this year’s NFU Scotland AGM.

The union’s position on Brexit has remained unchanged since the vote in 2016, that any Brexit must have a deal with the EU.

A ‘no deal’ Brexit with no trade deals and no labour movements from the EU would be ‘catastrophic’ for Scotland’s farmers and crofters, Mr McCornick said, who was recently re-elected as union president, said.

He highlighted the need for politicians to work together and to ‘leave politics and egos at the door’, as they work to get the best possible deal out of the Brexit negotiations.

In his speech, Mr McCornick said: “A ‘no deal’ means a ‘hard Brexit’ and this means the UK falling out of Europe on 30 March and the application of World Trade Organization tariffs.

“Under a WTO regime the rules will deliver no continuity on what we are currently doing for many key sectors of our economy. This means massive disruption, amongst which will be the introduction of tariffs.

“Agriculture and agri-food will be the most seriously affected where the highest tariff rates are found. Red meat for example would see tariffs of around 40 per cent.”

He added: “We must be sensible in what trade-offs we do. Europe can and will be brutal. Services are where Europe has a large trade surplus with us but in manufacturing including agri-food there is a massive deficit.

“We need to remember that a deal is not about what you get, but about what you give up.”

The comments follow the Scottish government calling on Westminster to rule out a ‘no deal’ and focus on the ‘best outcome’ for the UK, which it says is staying part of the Single Market and Customs Union.

Source: Farming UK