By Scottish Labour rural affairs spokesman Colin Smyth

"THERE IS no such thing as a ‘Good Deal’ when it comes to exiting the EU, with the inevitable extra burdens the sector will face accessing markets and labour. But farmers and crofters across Scotland will be relieved that a catastrophic No Deal exit has been avoided.

The trade deal cobbled together at the last-minute still leaves a huge amount of uncertainty and falls short of what was needed and promised.

I know from speaking to farmers and crofters that many questions remain unanswered, from import standards to common frameworks to financial support. The UK and Scottish governments have failed continually to show the necessary sense of urgency and leadership on these issues.

It is now critical that Governments across the UK work together and in partnership with the sector to develop those detailed plans and provide much-needed reassurances on what lies ahead.

That’s why Labour’s priority at Westminster and Holyrood will be to press for concrete guarantees that future trade deals will not weaken import standards and allow Scottish and British produce to be undercut. Scottish agriculture relies on its world-leading reputation for quality produce and high production standards, and building on this is the key to unlocking the sector’s full potential. This cannot be undermined by imports that fall below these high standards.

We’ll also keep pressing for a set of common frameworks to protect the integrity of the UK-wide single market. The rest of the UK is by far Scottish agriculture’s biggest market, and ensuring there is adequate consistency and alignment between the nations is essential. These vital conversations have too often been derailed by political and constitutional arguments. The UK and Scottish governments must put aside their differences and focus on delivering these frameworks for the good of the sector.

Additionally, we’ll continue our longstanding calls for clarity on what support scheme will replace CAP after 2024. Our exit from the Common Agricultural Policy will be one of the most significant changes the sector has faced in decades. Few would disagree that change is needed, and there is a broad consensus among stakeholders on the way forward. However it is essential the sector has time to prepare for this change to minimise disruption. Agriculture relies on long-term planning, but 2024 is fast approaching, and we are still waiting for even the most preliminary proposals from the Scottish Government.

Avoiding a No Deal Brexit was vital for the sector – but this deal is a starting point, not an end point. Labour will work closely with our farmers and crofters to keep the pressure on both Governments to ensure we mitigate the risks and maximise the opportunities, so we can deliver a sustainable future for Scottish agriculture and our rural communities."