Food security and EU nationals

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From: LUDO THIERRY

Continuing the food security theme from a different angle – I realise some mighty good folk on the Indy side of history are getting (understandably) fretful at the attention that the SNP Scottish Govt, the SNP MPs and MEPs and SNP Conference etc are giving to finding ways to keep Scotland within (or effectively within) the EU –

We all hope that we are in transition to an internationally recognised Indy statehood this time next year (preferably next week!) but also have to make preparations just in case we aren’t yet there.

News.gov.scot carries some useful figures today which demonstrate how brexit would impact on Scottish fruit/vegetable production (workforce), humane and safe abattoir facilities (EU nationals providing 95% of official veterinary cover), fishing (workforce: 58% of processing workforce) – let alone the tax provisions of 5.2% of Scotland’s tax-paying workforce (the taxes which allow all sorts of desirable projects to be pursued): Link and snippets below: This is really big stuff folks – it will continue to pull political oxygen away from EVERYTHING else until some greater clarity is achieved:

https://news.gov.scot/news/rural-scotland-and-eu-citizens

Approximately 5.2% of Scotland’s total workforce is made up of EU migrants, with the rural economy particularly reliant on people from all over the EU with a vital mix of skills to support key industries, including:

• up to 10,000 EU citizens employed in food and drink

• up to 10,000 non-UK seasonal migrant workers employed in the soft fruit and vegetable sector

• over 4,500 EU citizens work in the Scottish fishing industry

• Food Standards Scotland reports that 95% of official veterinarians are EU citizens

• an estimated 21,000 EU citizens were employed in the tourism sector, accounting for 11.6% of all employed in the sector

• The First Minister has made a commitment to EU citizens living here that they will be supported to remain in Scotland during and beyond the uncertainty associated with an EU exit.

Mr Ewing reiterated this commitment while visiting Pittenweem harbour, where he highlighted the importance of retaining freedom of movement for EU workers. He said:”.. For example, 58% of our fish processing labour workforce comes from the EU, without which there is a real risk to the future success and sustainability of the rural and coastal economy and communities.

“Our message to people is therefore clear: you are welcome here, you contribute to this country’s diversity and prosperity, and we will do everything we can to help you stay in Scotland.”

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