Fears for fate of Tayside fruit farms post-Brexit

The fate of fruit and vegetable farms across Tayside and Fife is being threatened as a result of Brexit, it has been claimed.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and North East Fife MSP Willie Rennie has called on the UK Government to guarantee an easy-to-operate seasonal workers scheme after hearing evidence local businesses are already struggling to get the staff they need.

Mr Rennie was speaking following a visit to Barnsmuir Farm near Crail, which grows berries and brassica.

“At the peak of the season Barnsmuir needs 370 workers,” he said. “Most of the workers come from Romania and Bulgaria but since the Brexit vote they have been struggling to get the workforce. Their workers have faced a pay cut because of the fall in the value of the pound.

“The distance from home and the Scottish weather become more important when you don’t get paid as much.”

Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, echoed those comments, highlighting warnings Scottish farmers could lose more than £250 million a year as a result of Brexit.

A Government spokesman said: “Until we have left the EU, the UK will remain a member with all of the rights and obligations that membership entails.”

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