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Exports to the EU: Devolved Nations

Volume 718: debated on Thursday 21 July 2022

The Department is delivering prosperity through trade and investment to all parts of the United Kingdom. In addition to UK-wide initiatives such as the UK Export Academy for smaller enterprises, we have established teams in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast, and I hope in my role to be visiting them over the coming months. Those teams will bring business support closer to businesses in the nations and work in partnership with devolved Administrations.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but it is clear to farmers across Scotland, nowhere more so than in Angus, that Brexit has made a great many things harder and more expensive, made nothing any easier and created no more opportunity whatever. [Interruption.] That will be the same in Banff and Buchan, by the way. With regard to Australia, and without reference to whisky or salmon, what dedicated analysis has his Department undertaken that evidences net increases for Scotch beef and lamb exports to Australia in quantitative, not rhetorical terms? If he cannot say, will he write to me with that data, please?

I note that Invest in Angus, based in the hon. Member’s constituency, estimates that food and drink is worth more than £200 million to the Angus domestic economy. We are supporting farmers and food producers across Scotland, including in Angus, and that is one of the reasons why we are seeking opportunities for greater agricultural exports through the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership and the Indian trade deal, and with the Gulf.

I am sure that James Withers from Scotland Food & Drink will be interested to hear what the Minister has said, because James has said:

“Brexit has made absolutely nothing better and it’s made a lot of things worse.”

Does the Minister share my concern—I hope he does—that the candidates in the current Tory leadership race are simply not being up front about the mess we are in because of Brexit? They need to listen carefully to businesses and make exporting easier, instead of pretending that Brexit is working for business in Scotland and across the UK, because clearly it is not.

I look forward to meeting Scotland Food & Drink and hearing about the positive opportunities. I hope that it is not overly infected by the hon. Lady’s pessimism about the prospects for this great Union outside the European Union.

Welsh food and drink exports have no better showcase than the Royal Welsh show—the largest agricultural show in Europe—which concludes in my constituency today. It has been fantastic to see visitors from right around the world back on the showground. I want to pay particular tribute to Steve Hughson, who is stepping down as the show’s chief executive after 10 very successful years. Does my hon. Friend agree that agricultural shows are fantastically helpful for boosting our exports around the world?

I thank my hon. Friend for promoting the great opportunities for British food and drink. The Royal Welsh show is a great institution and I am sure that everyone on the Government side of the House thanks Steve Hughson for his endeavours.