The four UK farming unions have penned a joint letter to MPs explaining why they must take all steps necessary to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Anna Tobin reports
The NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers’ Union have warned MPs that leaving the EU without a deal could be catastrophic for the UK’s food and farming industries and has urged them to “take all the steps necessary to avoid such a departure coming to pass.”
The letter states that a no-deal Brexit could:
- Cause huge disruption as a result of an effective trade embargo on the export of UK animals and animal-based products
- Produce particularly high customs tariffs on some exports – 65% on beef, 46% on lamb and 27% on chicken
- Result in the UK market being open to imports of food produced to standards lower than that produced here by UK farmers, if the Government chooses to unilaterally lower the UK’s import tariffs to control food price inflation
The letter states: “Brexit will mean that, for the first time in a generation, UK politicians will have direct responsibility for ensuring our nation is properly fed. Yet, in the face of this fundamental responsibility, there is a very real risk that a disorderly Brexit will lead to an immediate reliance on overseas imports, produced to lower standards, while many UK farms struggle to survive. The implications, not only for domestic food supply but for the careful management of our cherished countryside, would represent an historic political failure.
“Our organisations remain committed to playing their part in managing Brexit in the best interests of farmers and the UK public in the years ahead, but we believe that leaving without a deal on March 29 will lead, very quickly, to the opposite outcome.
“We urge MPs, in light of the central role Parliament will play in the coming days in resolving this impasse, to recognise the severe impact No Deal will have and to take all steps necessary to avoid such a departure coming to pass.”