The SNP has said Douglas Ross faces a ‘big test’ of his promise to stand up for Scotland’s farmers ‘every single time’ in the face of a Tory trade deal with Australia which would see Scotland’s beef and lamb farmers undercut – threatening their future.
Writing in the Scottish Farmer magazine in September 2020, the Scottish Tory leader penned an open letter to Scotland’s farmers promising that he would stand up for them on a bigger platform.
However, he has been silent in the face of proposals in the Tories’ trade deal with Australia that would see Scotland’s farmers undercut as part of a zero-tariff deal for imports to the UK.
Last week, President of NFU Scotland Martin Kennedy told Good Morning Britain that farmers feel a ‘total betrayal’, he was joined by NFU President Minette Batters who said the zero-tariff proposals would be ‘unbearable’.
Commenting, SNP MSP for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire and former sheep farmer Jim Fairlie said:
“Douglas Ross made this promise to Scotland’s farmers just eight months ago and wrote to farmers in my constituency promising to be their champion. This is a big test for that promise as farmers face the prospect of being undercut by beef and lamb imported tariff-free from Australia.
“There are severe consequences for Scotland’s farmers if this deal goes ahead as it could push them out of business, that would be a complete betrayal of the industry.
“In the face of these dreadful proposals, we have heard nothing from Douglas Ross despite his promise to stand up for farmers ‘every single time’ – now is the time for farmers to have their corner fought for.
“Scotland’s world-class produce has already been under threat with our seafood industry being sold down the river, we cannot have the same outcome for our farmers and their fantastic, high-quality beef and lamb.
“We cannot trust Douglas Ross and the Tories with Scotland’s farming sector, they must urgently rule out tariff-free access to the UK that would seriously impede our home-grown produce.”