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Brexit - agricultural sectors: analysis of impacts

This research assesses the impacts of different potential outcomes beyond the end of the EU transition period on key Scottish agricultural sectors. The work combines trade-model and farm-level analysis supplemented by industry interviews and desk-based research.

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Contents
Brexit - agricultural sectors: analysis of impacts
8. Brexit Impact – Horticulture

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8. Brexit Impact – Horticulture

8.1 Tariff Impacts

Sections 8.1.1 and 8.1.2 set-out the estimated tariffs applicable on UK imports and exports respectively.

8.1.1 UK Imports

Table 8‑1 shows that tariffs for horticultural products are much lower than for products of animal origin. The tariff for unprocessed potatoes is 10% when imported from July to December. This is slightly higher than the tariff for new potatoes (8%) so that the competitive position of UK potatoes is safeguarded. For seed potatoes, the UKGT is set at 4%. Industry experts did not view the imposition of tariffs as a major issue but did caution that, as margins are wafer thin in the potatoes' sector, anything that increases costs is likely to have an inflationary effect at the consumer level. One contributor also acknowledged that the imposition of tariffs on processing potato imports from Belgium would assist UK processors. During 2017-19, uncooked frozen potato imports from the EU were estimated at £135 million, and these would incur a 16% import tariff. However, this would also add costs as significant investments in the UK's processing capacity would be required. Either way, higher costs would increase consumer prices.

Due to HMRC data constraints, the prices in Table 8‑1 for cauliflower and broccoli are combined prices. In reality, primary research input suggests that the prices for broccoli tend to be higher. In any case, the UKGT is set at 8%. Again, this would have an inflationary effect on imports from the EU in a No Deal Brexit which in addition to consumer price rises, is also likely to improve British producers' competitiveness. That said, imports will still be important as broccoli in particular is a seasonal crop.

A No Deal scenario would also result in 10% tariffs being applied to strawberry imports from the EU from 2021. Again, this would have inflationary effects on consumer prices. Whilst this will help to improve British growers' competitive position, they will only benefit if seasonal labour is available. Labour is by far the greatest issue in UK horticulture and is examined in more detail in Section 8.6 below.

Table 8‑1: Estimated Tariffs for UK Imports of Horticultural Products – 2017-19 (AVE%)
HS Code Description EU Non-EU
Price £/t AVE% Price £/t AVE %
07011000 Seed potatoes 760 4.0% 645 4.0%
07019010 Potatoes for manufacture of starch, fresh or chilled 448 4.0% N/A
07019050 Fresh/chilled new potatoes from 1 Jan to 30 June 760 8.0% 408 8.0%
07019090 Potatoes, fresh or chilled (excl. new potatoes, seed potatoes and potatoes for manufacture of starch) 557 10.0% 376 10.0%
07041000 Fresh or chilled cauliflowers and headed broccoli 1,082 8.0% 3,148 8.0%
08101000 Fresh strawberries 2,999 10.0% 3,402 10.0%
20041099 Frozen processed potato products (uncooked) 857 16.0% 1,422 16.0%

Sources: HMRC and Andersons

8.1.2 UK Exports

As Table 4‑2 shows, exports of strawberries, cauliflower and broccoli account for a small proportion of UK output, and Scottish output (see Table 4‑5). Exports to the EU would deteriorate further under a No Deal as tariffs of 11.2% and 10.4% would be applied to strawberry and cauliflower/broccoli respectively.

However, tariffs would be more of an issue for potatoes, particularly seed potatoes, where significant exports take place from Scotland to the EU and its affiliated territories (e.g. Canary Islands). Admittedly, the CET for seed potatoes (4.5%) is relatively low, but coupled with non-tariff measures (see Section 8.3), they would erode Scottish producers' competitive position, exerting a downward pressure on prices.

The tariffs for other unprocessed potatoes would range from 5.8% to 11.5%. Exports from the UK do take place into Europe, particularly when the Benelux processing sector is in deficit. As with malt, these exports tend to be more prevalent in East Anglia given its proximity to the Continent. However, opportunistic exports can take place from Scotland when there is an excess supply. Tariffs on processed potatoes to the EU (17.6% for uncooked frozen potatoes) would be more problematic. This would negatively impact trade with the EU which during 2017-19 averaged at £25.7 million per annum.

Although tariffs are not necessarily prohibitive (exchange rate swings have often been >15%), Scottish (and UK) producers' competitiveness would be eroded, thus impinging upon farm-level profitability.

Table 8‑2: Estimated Tariffs on UK Horticultural Exports to the EU27 – 2017-19 (AVE %)
HS Code Description Price £/t AVE %
07011000 Seed potatoes 423 4.5%
07019010 Potatoes for manufacture of starch, fresh or chilled 627 5.8%
07019050 Fresh or chilled new potatoes from 1 January to 30 June 415 9.6%
07019090 Potatoes, fresh or chilled (excl. new potatoes from 1 January to 30 June, seed potatoes and potatoes for manufacture of starch) 329 11.5%
07041000 Fresh or chilled cauliflowers and headed broccoli 1,202 10.4%
08101000 Fresh strawberries 1,465 11.2%
20041099 Frozen processed potato products (uncooked) 1,075 17.6%

Sources: HMRC and Andersons

8.2 TRQ Impacts

There are several EU28 TRQs for horticultural products such as sweet potatoes, garlic, top-fruit and citrus fruit. However, just one TRQ is relevant to the horticultural products examined in this study. This concerns fresh/chilled potatoes accessible to all WTO members on an Erga Omnes basis. As Table 8‑3 shows virtually all of the 4,295t TRQ is allocated to the EU, thus having a minimal impact on the UK.

Table 8‑3: Proposed Division of Selected EU28 Potatoes' Import TRQs between EU27 and UK
Description Country Order No. EU28 (t) EU27 (t) EU27 Share (%) UK (t) UK Share (%)
Potatoes (fresh) Erga Omnes 90055 4,295 4,292 99.9% 3 0.1%

Source: Council of the European Union (2018), Andersons (2020)

8.3 NTM Impacts

The estimated NTM AVEs for selected horticultural products are set out in Table 8‑4. As with other sectors, these are presented on a probability basis. Further background information is in Annex III.

During the primary research, greatest concern was expressed with regards to seed potatoes given the extent to which they are traded overseas from Scotland. Post-Transition, the estimated range of NTM AVEs for seed potatoes is between 2.1% and 7.1%. NTM AVEs are higher for UK exports to the EU27 because the price (£423/tonne) is significantly lower than the import equivalent (£760/tonne). For trade with the EU, NTM costs are lower for RoRo and this is due to higher terminal handling fees being imposed on LoLo freight when regulatory checks are being undertaken.

As pointed out previously, a key assumption underlying the primary research estimates presented is that the UK regulations are assumed not to diverge from the EU post-EU exit, at least initially. During the primary research, some participants expressed concern at the potential impact of divergence, especially if active ingredients (AIs) are no longer authorised in the EU but remain available in the UK. Some believe that this could pose a significant threat to sensitive export markets for seed potatoes (e.g. to Canary Islands or Spain), thus having a negative impact on trade.

An additional concern is according to one interviewee, as things stand recognition of the UK's third country status is not in place for exports to the EU, meaning that from 1st January, it will not be possible to export seed potatoes to the EU, a point substantiated by latest Government Guidance[32]. This is despite both UK growers and representatives from the European Potato Trade Association calling for continued mutual recognition (third country equivalence) for goods which have been harmonised for several years. Whilst unconfirmed by Defra, at the time of writing, it is believed based on primary research input that UK will permit imports of seed potatoes from the EU for six months if an equivalence agreement is not in place, based on the rationale that the standards of both parties are harmonised. Of course, imports would only come into England as imports do not come into Scotland based on a voluntary agreement amongst industry participants.

For ware potatoes, NTM AVE estimates range from 1.3% to 2.8% for RoRo, whilst for LoLo the AVEs are higher at 3.2% to 7.2%.

In a sector where seasonality is important for both export and import trade, the impact of NTMs particularly time delays could lead to some structural shifts. For instance, in recent years, the UK has exported to Belgium as its processing capacity has increased significantly. If increased delays are experienced on the Dover-Calais route for instance, this will make the viability of such trade problematic as the level of NTMs estimated below equate to a major proportion of profit margins.

Table 8‑4: Estimated NTM Costs - Selected Horticultural Products for UK-EU Trade (AVE %)
HS Code Description UK Imports from EU27 UK Exports to EU27
FTA No Deal FTA No Deal
07011000 Seed Potatoes (RoRo -26t) 2.1% 3.0% 3.7% 5.3%
04031091 Seed Potatoes (LoLo -26t) 3.1% 4.0% 5.6% 7.1%
07019090 Potatoes, fresh/chilled (excluding new) (RoRo) 1.3% 1.7% 2.1% 2.8%
07019090 Potatoes, fresh/chilled (excluding new) (Lolo) 3.2% 4.3% 5.3% 7.2%
07041000 Fresh cauliflower/broccoli (RoRo) 2.3% 3.2% 2.1% 2.9%
08101000 Fresh strawberries (RoRo) 0.4% 0.6% 0.8% 1.1%

Source: The Andersons Centre (2020)

For other horticultural produce, due to their highly perishable nature, only RoRo transport is assumed. For imports of cauliflower/broccoli from the EU, NTMs range from 2.3% to 3.2%. Whilst exports to the EU are small, some exports do take place from the UK to Ireland as well as opportunistic exports to other EU countries. Projected NTM AVEs for this trade range from 2.1% to 2.9%. Such costs would make a significant dent on profit margins.

The NTM AVEs for strawberries appear to be lower than for cauliflower/broccoli but that is a function of it being of a higher value. In comparison with labour concerns, most industry participants believe that NTM costs are a relatively minor issue for strawberries (see Section 8.6).

8.4 Labour

In comparison with other sectors, Scottish horticulture faces by far the most pressing challenges with labour arising from the end of Free Movement. Similar to previous studies, most notably the SRUC[33], the primary research feedback strongly suggests this challenge chiefly relates to sourcing seasonal workers. As Table 8‑5 shows, there were over 9,250 migrant workers employed in Scottish horticulture during 2017. The majority (72%) were employed in the protected soft fruit sector, where strawberries also feature, with potatoes (9%) also of significance. The survey found that numbers employed in the broccoli and cauliflower sectors were relatively small versus the industry generally. Obtaining reliable data on the employment of seasonal workers across the UK agriculture and horticulture is challenging. However, according the analysis undertaken by Andersons in 2019, an estimated 75,000-90,000 seasonal migrant workers are employed in the UK each year. Therefore, Scottish horticulture accounts for 10-12% of this total.

Table 8‑5: Estimated Number of Seasonal Workers in Scottish and UK Horticulture (2017)
Parameter No. Workers % Total
Protected Soft Fruit 6,694 72%
Field Fruits 631 7%
Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries 567 6%
Other Soft-Fruit (including Blackberries) 64 1%
Potatoes 810 9%
Flours and Bulbs 223 2%
Vegetables 899 10%
Calabrese (Broccoli) 216 2%
Cauliflower 39 0%
Other Vegetables (includes Rhubarb) 644 7%
Total Scottish Seasonal Migrant Workforce (Horticulture) 9,257  

Source: SRUC

Across all horticultural sectors assessed in this study, labour emerged as the principal concern. Whilst estimates of projected cost increases varied, there was a strong consensus that if Free Movement ended and there was an inadequate SAWS-replacement scheme (estimated at 70,000 workers across the UK), then seasonal labour costs would rise significantly. These averaged at 15% under the No Deal scenario, based on the opinions of industry participants, however, some interviewees thought that costs might rise by even more. To reflect this concern, a third scenario was added where labour costs increase by 20%, 5 percentage points higher than the 'core No Deal scenario (15% rise). As mentioned previously, it is worth re-emphasising that the labour arrangements are independent of whether there is a Deal or not, and could also become applicable under an FTA scenario, if SAWS was unavailable. Even with an expanded SAWS scheme of sufficient scale to meet most labour needs, some cost increases were anticipated to deal with extra administration costs and the like. These have been estimated in this study to be 4% under the FTA scenario. A further analysis of the impact of increased labour costs is provided in Section 8.6 below.

8.5 Effects on UK Output and Trade

Although potatoes are the only commodity in the horticultural sector which are covered by Agmemod, having consulted with Wageningen University on this, it was decided that the existing data within Agmemod are too weak to undertake a sufficiently robust analysis of changes to UK-EU trade. This is because, despite the UK input data being updated to 2019, the potatoes' sector has not been included within recent European Commission Market Outlook studies. Accordingly, the data across EU27 Member States have not been updated to the standard required, despite the best efforts of researchers working on this study. Therefore, for horticulture, the analyses presented below focus chiefly on the farm-level and combine insights from previous studies which Andersons and Wageningen University have been involved in as well as input from this study's primary research.

8.6 Scottish Farm-Level Implications

8.6.1 Seed Potatoes

Given the importance of seed potatoes in Scotland, Table 8‑6 shows the projected impact of Brexit under each scenario. The farm-level data are primarily based on the Scottish Farm Management Handbook (2019/20)[34] for a high-performing seed potatoes enterprise. Casual labour costs from the ABC Book are used as these are not reported in the Farm Management Handbook. Further information is contained in Annex IV.

Table 8‑6: Projected Brexit Impact Analysis - Scottish Seed Potatoes- High Performing (£ / Ha)
Parameter 19/20 (Base) FTA No Deal No Deal (with 20% Labour Cost Increase)
  £/Ha £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch.
Seed (25t/ha; £220/t) 6,650 6,527 -1.9% 6,341 -4.6% 6,341 -4.6%
Ware (6t/ha; £45/t 270 272 0.6% 286 5.9% 286 5.9%
Stockfeed (2t/ha; £20/t) 40 40 0.0% 40 0.0% 40 0.0%
Output 6,960 6,839 -1.0% 6,667 -4.2% 6,667 -4.2%
Total Variable Costs 6,410 6,433 +0.4% 6,517 +1.7% 6,557 +2.3%
Gross Margin 551 406 -26.3% 149 -72.9% 110 -80.1%

Sources: Farm Management Handbook (2019/20), Agricultural Budgeting and Costing Book, Andersons

Variable costs are primarily based on Scottish Farm Management Handbook, but as these do not include casual labour, costings from the Agricultural Budgeting Costing Book (90th edition) have been used to provide indication of Brexit impact.

Relatively small changes are forecast in the FTA scenario with seed potatoes' prices decreasing by approximately 1.9%, roughly half of the projected NTM costs on exports to the EU27 presented in Section 8.3. Ware prices increase slightly as imports from the EU27 are slightly less competitive whilst stockfeed prices are not assumed to change. Therefore, output is estimated to decline by 1%.

Total variable costs increase slightly (+0.4%). Within this, seed costs decline reflecting the decrease in seed potatoes' prices and labour is projected to rise by 4% due to increased regulatory requirements for bringing in migrant labour, which accounts for just over 12% of total variable costs in the Base case. This results in a 26.3% decline in gross margins under an FTA scenario.

Under a No Deal, gross margins decline considerably further. Seed potato prices incur a 4.6% price decline as a result of both tariff and NTM costs, whilst ware prices rise by 5.9%. Overall, output is projected to decline by 4.2%. Meanwhile variable costs are projected to rise driven chiefly by increased labour costs. For the horticultural sector, under a No Deal, casual labour costs were projected to rise by 15% on average. However, some input suggested that these cost increase could be even more pronounced. Accordingly, a No Deal scenario with a 20% casual labour cost increase was also estimated. Therefore, under the Core No Deal scenario, variable costs rise by 1.7%, and when a 20% casual labour cost increase is assumed, they rise by 2.3%.

This has a corrosive effect on gross margins which are projected to decline by 73-80% depending on the extent to which labour costs increase post-Brexit. As there was insufficient industry data on net profit margins and labour-related overheads, these have not been considered in the analysis below. However, primary research input suggests that whilst there are some migrant workers in the permanent workforce, most of them have been in Scotland for a long-time and would qualify for settled status. Accordingly, it is casual labour which is causing the greatest concern and this has arguably increased in importance recently vis-à-vis tariffs and NTMs. This is because if labour is not available, businesses will not be able to operate. In this respect, the estimates provided below need to be treated with caution.

8.6.2 Cauliflower

Drawing upon input received during the primary research in conjunction with information from the 2019/20 Farm Management Handbook as well as insights from the Agricultural Budgeting and Costing (ABC) Book (90th edition)[35], the projected impacts of an FTA and a No Deal on a 'typical' cauliflower growing enterprise are presented in Table 8‑7. As the Farm Management Handbook does not include estimates for casual labour, ABC Book estimates were used instead, and a gross margin was derived so that an indication of the impact of casual labour cost increases could be provided.

The projected changes are presented under three scenarios. The FTA and No Deal scenarios reflect the scenarios assessed throughout the report. To reflect the importance of potential changes in casual labour costs, a third scenario was added where labour costs increase by 20%, 5 percentage points higher than the 'core' No Deal scenario (15% rise). This reflects the balance of primary research input and insights from previous studies. The projected changes under the other cost sub-headings reflect primary research input and insights gained from previous studies. See Annex IV for more detail.

Under the FTA scenario, labour costs are projected to rise by 4% which reflects that whilst an augmented Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) might emerge, such labour will be more costly for several reasons. Based on primary research feedback, EU seasonal workers would be more likely to accept positions in Germany and Spain as they are closer to home and there are fewer exchange rate issues. The additional paperwork which is likely to accompany a new SAWS scheme would also be an impediment. Some interviewees also opined that of late, seasonal workers tend to be older, less well-educated and not as productive as in the past and that this trend would continue post-Brexit.

It is important to note that permanent labour is included within the overheads cost category. These are assumed to remain unchanged under both the FTA and No Deal scenarios. Whilst it is arguable that in some instances, competition for these workers will increase in the event of Free Movement ending, the primary research suggests that of the migrant workers employed in permanent positions, the vast majority would be able to gain "settled status". Staff turnover in these roles is also low. Taking account of this, and given that there was insufficient data to provide a realistic breakdown of the proportion of overheads costs accounted for by permanent labour, it was decided to leave this category unchanged.

Taking these points into consideration, Table 8‑7 shows that variable costs are projected to increase by 4.6% under the FTA scenarios, driven mainly by casual labour. Whilst some price increases, estimated to be approximately half of the projected price increase in imports due to NTMs, would help to increase output by 1.6%, gross margins would decline by 2.5%. Assuming a Base net margin of 3%, projected net margins under an FTA would be 35% lower.

In a 'core' No Deal scenario, casual labour costs rise by 15% meaning that variable costs are 9.2% higher (up by £177/ha). In this scenario, prices are estimated to rise by 5.6%. Again, approximately half of the price-rise on imports associated with tariffs and NTM costs. This drives increased gross margins up by almost 1% whilst net margins are over 10% higher. Although this appears to imply that under a No Deal, profitability within the cauliflower sector would be significantly enhanced, the key caveat is that unless there is sufficient labour available, such profit increases will not be possible.

To demonstrate the extent to which the horticultural sector is exposed to risks around labour, projections were also provided assuming a 20% increase in casual labour costs whilst keeping all other costs the same as in the core No Deal scenario. Here, variable costs would rise by almost 12% wiping-out any increased revenue output. Net margins would decline by over 38%. In an industry where margins are often wafer thin and net profitability is frequently lower than 3%, this causes major concerns for growers. Although automation has often been cited as a solution, industry experts believe that practical automation solutions are 5-10 years' away and requires heavy capital investment which many growers would be unable to afford.

Table 8‑7: Projected Brexit Impact Analysis - Scottish Cauliflower Enterprise (£ per Hectare)
Parameter 19/20 (Base) FTA No Deal No Deal (with 20% Labour Cost Increase)
  £/Ha £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch.
Yield (t/ha)   16   16   16  
Price (£/t) 420 427 +1.6% 444 +5.6% 444 +5.6%
Output 6,720 6,828 7,096 7,096
Total Variable Costs 3,867 3,978 +2.9% 4,223 +9.2% 4,321 +11.7%
Gross Margin 2,853 2,850 -0.1% 2,873 +0.7% 2,776 -2.7%
Net Margin 202 199 -1.5% 222 +10.1% 125 -38.2%

Sources: Farm Management Handbook (2019/20), Agricultural Budgeting and Costing Book, Andersons

Variable costs are primarily based on Scottish Farm Management Handbook, but as these do not include casual labour, costings from the Agricultural Budgeting Costing Book (90th edition) have been used to provide indication of Brexit impact. Assumes a Base net margin of 3% based on primary research, actual margins frequently lower.

8.6.3 Broccoli

Similar to the cauliflower analysis, Table 8‑8 summarises the projected Brexit impacts under each scenario. Most of the assumptions applicable for cauliflowers above are also applied to broccoli. Once again, estimates on output and most variable costs are based on the Farm Management Handbook 2019/20, with casual labour costs coming from the ABC Book.

Table 8‑8: Projected Brexit Impact Analysis - Scottish Broccoli Enterprise (£ per Hectare)
Parameter 19/20 (Base) FTA Deal No Deal No Deal (with 20% Labour Cost Increase)
  £/Ha £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch.
Yield (t/ha)   10   10   10  
Price (£/t) 600 610 +1.6% 634 +5.6% 634 +5.6%
Output 6,720 6,096 6,336 6,336
Variable Costs 3,867 3,355 +3.7% 3,580 +9.8% 3,670 +12.6%
Gross Margin 2,853 2,741 -0.9% 2,756 +0.6% 2,666 -2.7%
Net Margin 180 180 -0.1% 196 +8.7% 106 -41.3%

Sources: Farm Management Handbook (2019/20), Agricultural Budgeting and Costing Book, Andersons

Variable costs are primarily based on Scottish Farm Management Handbook, but as these do not include casual labour, costings from the Agricultural Budgeting Costing Book (90th edition) have been used to provide indication of Brexit impact. Assumes a Base net margin of 3% based on primary research, actual margins frequently lower.

Under an FTA, projected gross margins decline by 0.9%, whilst a 0.6% rise is projected under a No Deal. When casual labour costs are assumed to rise by 20%, this results in a 2.7% gross margin decline.

When a Base net margin of 3% is again assumed, significant declines are projected under an FTA scenario and a No Deal (20% casual labour cost increase), whilst profitability is projected to rise by almost 9% under a core No Deal scenario. As with cauliflowers, Scottish broccoli growers are heavily exposed if Free Movement ends and there is an inadequate SAWS scheme to meet seasonal labour requirements.

8.6.4 Strawberries

As the Farm Management Handbook for 2019/20 does not contain strawberries' gross margin information, the estimates in Table 8‑9 are based on gross margins from the ABC Book as well as primary research input. Whilst these figures are not necessarily based on Scottish strawberries' enterprises, they still capture the major labour-related challenges associated with Free Movement ending.

In addition to the direct impacts on labour, reduced labour availability is also likely to affect transport costs with increases assumed to be around half the projected labour cost increase under each scenario. See Annex IV for more detail. Overall, only a small (2%) increase in variable costs is anticipated under and FTA, whilst cost increases of 7.3% to 9.4% are envisaged under No Deal. Whilst gross margins decrease under all Brexit scenarios, the smallest decline (-4.1%) is projected under a core No Deal where output price rises (5.3%) mitigate increased labour costs. However, if labour costs rise by 20%, net margins would plummet by over 80%, almost wiping out any net margin in this case. This again illustrates the concerns over labour in the horticultural sector.

Table 8‑9: Projected Brexit Impact Analysis - Scottish Strawberries Enterprise (£ per Hectare)
Parameter 19/20 (Base) FTA Deal No Deal No Deal (with 20% Labour Cost Rise)
  £/Ha £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch. £/Ha % Ch.
Yield (t/ha) 30 30 30 30  
Price (£/t) 3,500 3,507 +0.2% 3,686 +5.3% 3,686 +5.3%
Output 105,000 105,210 110,565 110,565
Total Variable Costs 86,364 88,077 +2.0% 92,694 +7.3% 94,464 +9.4%
Gross Margin 18,637 17,133 -8.1% 17,871 -4.1% 16,101 -13.6%
Net Margin 3,150 1,647 -47.7% 2,384 -24.3% 614 -80.5%

Sources: Agricultural Budgeting and Costing Book, Andersons

Assumes a Base net margin of 3% based on primary research, actual margins frequently lower.

8.7 Concluding Remarks

Overall, the analysis shows how crucial an influence labour has on the overall profitability and performance of the Scottish horticultural sector. Whilst the analysis above suggests substantial profitability declines under a No Deal Brexit and insufficient labour to meet requirements, businesses contributing to this study emphasised that it may not be possible to undertake horticultural operations if seasonal labour becomes seriously curtailed. The strong message emanating from the research is that with an expanded SAWS scheme that meets the needs of the UK agricultural and horticultural sector, estimated at approximately 70,000 workers across the UK, then the futures of these businesses could be safeguarded. They will then be able to concentrate on exploiting potential opportunities arising from Brexit which primarily focus on capturing a greater share of the domestic UK market.

Businesses contributing to the research also mentioned that the impact of the Covid Crisis and National Living Wage have already led to significant cost increases. Add a No Deal Brexit with curtailed labour availability on top of this, then many businesses will be unable to survive in the long-term.


Contact

Email: richard.haw@gov.scot