“New barriers to trade within the UK must be avoided at all costs if we are to create a system which is fair for everyone and ensures vital trade remains as frictionless as possible.”

This is according to Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the organisation which represents rural businesses and farmers.

Following debate in Westminster last week which focused on the impact of the UK Internal Market Bill on Scotland, SLE says that, given the importance of the UK market to Scottish producers, moves to protect the ability to trade within the UK are welcome.

However, any new system must have the confidence of all four nations and does not negatively impact on devolved competencies.

Eleanor Kay, policy adviser at SLE, said:

With the rest of the UK being the destination for the majority of Scottish exports, we do not want to see barriers to trade within the UK, so we welcome measures to protect the UK’s internal market and ensure trade can continue.

“However, we need to see more clarity on the wider impact of some of the provisions within the Bill and particularly those that may affect devolved powers.”

‘We would like more detail’

“We would like more detail from the UK government on any potential financial constraints this Bill might have on Scottish agricultural policy and any issues regarding devolved competence,” Kay continued.

“Scotland must retain its ability to create an agricultural policy which suits its own unique circumstances.

What is absolutely essential is that all devolved administrations and the UK government have trust in those responsible for monitoring and scrutinising the internal market.

“Effective governance of the internal market will be crucial if economic barriers are to be avoided, so we welcome the proposal to establish an Office for the Internal Market.

“A mixture of mutual recognition, non-discrimination and common frameworks will be required to create an internal market that encourages growth throughout the UK and is fair for all.

“The internal market will not only impact UK producers but our export markets too, so we urge all four governments to seek a collaborative approach to this issue,” Kay concluded.