Following a series of valuable meetups with politicians at farms and Scotch stockists over the summer that outlined the current operating climate and the steps needed to support the sector going forward, representatives from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) recently visited Westminster to continue the conversation around Scotland’s red meat industry.
Between 1st-2nd November, QMS Chair, Kate Rowell and Industry Strategy and Public Affairs Manager, Lucy Ozanne met with Ian Murray, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland; John Lamont, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Scotland Office; Wendy Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and member of the Scottish Affairs Committee; David Duguid, Conservative MP for Banff and Buchan and the team of Pete Wishart, SNP DEFRA spokesperson and chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee.
Discussions brought to light the integration of Scotland’s livestock and red meat industry with that of the English, Welsh and Northern Irish counterparts, highlighting that changes in the operation of one country’s supply chain can affect operations in another, and the subsequent need for strong communication and collaboration across borders.
The meetings also addressed the topical and ongoing challenges that the red meat sector is experiencing, and the support producers and processors needs to survive, substantiated by the increasingly key role that Scottish red meat plays in the UK’s food and drink export market. With the Scotch and Specially Selected Pork brands underpinned by world-class quality assurance standards and sustainable production methods, the exchanges further highlighted the positive work that QMS is doing to create opportunities for Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork on the international stage.
Reflecting on the trip, Ms Rowell said: “It is vitally important that we grasp every opportunity to get in front of key decision makers, to demonstrate the positive impact that the Scottish red meat supply chain plays in underpinning a vibrant economy, a healthy society and a in meeting our Net Zero targets. Working across the supply chain, it’s important to ensure that we not only tell the positive story of Scottish red meat, but also highlight some of the key barriers businesses face within a changing regulatory environment, which is further harming confidence levels of businesses at a time when the cost of doing business has never been greater.
“I felt very proud to be able to talk up Scotland’s red meat sector and our incredibly resilient businesses across the supply chain at Westminster, and we left with the impression that we have taken another step in developing relationships that will enable future growth and success of the industry.”