UK Government urged to negotiate on a positive vision for food, farming and fisheries post-Brexit

84 organisations from across UK, including Nourish, have called on government to adopt common-sense food, farming and fishing policies that are good for jobs, health and the environment, when they plan for the UK¹s exit from the European Union.


The coalition has written a letter to Oliver Letwin MP, who’ll be overseeing the new government unit that will lay the groundwork for a British exit from the European Union. You can download their letter here: Oliver_Letwin_letter_FINAL[4].

The letter therefore urges Letwin and his unit to ensure, in concert with the devolved administrations, that fair, healthy, humane and environmentally sustainable food, farming, fishing and land management are central to the post EU Referendum strategy for the UK, and that new trade agreements build on, and do not undermine, progress achieved over several decades and under several governments.

Brexit could mean a race to the bottom in environmental protection and workers’ rights, with Owen Patterson promising at a NFUS meeting before the referendum to ‘ditch the precautionary principle’. Scotland has much to be proud of in safeguarding employment and environmental standards – the agricultural wages board, marine protected areas, a moratorium on GM – while supporting a successful food and drink industry. And Scotland welcomes citizens from other EU countries who play an essential role in our food and farming industry, whereas the negative grudging attitude from sections of the Leave campaign risks a rise in exploitation of migrant workers.

Nourish wants to see Scotland remain in the EU in line with the way Scotland voted but meanwhile we are working alongside colleagues across the UK to maintain and build on the environmental and employment safeguards which the UK and EU have put in place over the last 40 years.


Some key facts on Scottish food and farming in the context of the EU:

  • Food is Scotland’s and the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector.
  • European farm subsidies account for 40% of the EU’s budget and for over half of farm income in Scotland.
  • Scotland lands 37% of the EU’s total allowable catch of fish.
  • The 166,000 citizens from other EU countries living in Scotland make a massive contribution to Scottish agriculture, food manufacturing and catering.
  • 65% of UK farm workers come from other EU countries.

You can read our briefing papers in the run up to the EU referendum here.