UK dairies taking 'wait and see' approach to Scottish independence

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland will tomorrow vote YES or NO to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?  (Image: Flickr/Kay Roxby)
Scotland will tomorrow vote YES or NO to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? (Image: Flickr/Kay Roxby)

Related tags: United kingdom, Scotland

Muller Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods, and First Milk appear to be taking a “wait and see” approach to the prospect of Scottish independence.

Tomorrow on September 18, up to 97% of Scotland’s eligible voters are expected to answer either YES or NO to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country? 

Opinion is currently teetering either side of 50%, and the British press has ruled it too close to call. Much has been said about the potential impact of Scottish independence on the banking sector and supermarket prices. 

With just one day until the referendum, DairyReporter.com approached Muller Wiseman Dairies, Arla Foods, and First Milk to gauge what impact, if any, a YES result would have on their operations in Scotland.

Providing the clearest, if still vague, response, First Milk, which is headquartered in Glasgow and operates three processing sites in Scotland, said it was taking a “wait and see”​ approach to the vote.

“We need to see what happens on Thursday,”​ said Paul Flanagan, external relations director, First Milk. “Even then, people need to sit down and decide what this means.”

Muller Wiseman Dairies, which boasts processing plants, distribution sites, and its head office north of Hadrian's Wall, said: “Unfortunately, this isn't something we’re prepared to make any comment on.”

Also keeping its cards close, Arla Foods, which operates a processing facility in Lockerbie, told DairyReporter.com: “We don’t get involved in political situations.”

18 months

If Scotland votes YES in this week's referendum the Scottish government will ask to become independent on 24 March 2016.

In the event of a YES result, the Scottish government will enter simultaneous negotiations with the UK on separation and the European Union (EU) on becoming a Member State.

There are no guarantees, however, that an independent Scotland would secure EU Member State status before breaking away from the UK.

Jim Fairlie, a Scottish sheep and cattle farmer and Farming for Yes campaign representative, told DairyReporter.com that 18 months should be adequate time to negotiate both deals.

“I don’t see why there would be any trade issues,”​ said Fairlie. “I don’t see there being any barriers to trade between Scotland and the UK unless they are put there by politicians.”

“We will have 18 months. During that time, Scotland will enter a negotiation process with the European Union to become a Member State and separation talks with the UK.”

“If there are difficulties, it will be because of the politicians.”

Related topics: Markets

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