NFU: leaving the EU could push up prices by creating an "anti-trade bias" for British farmers

A study out today, Tuesday, from the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has revealed the extent to which Britain’s agricultural industry could be impacted by leaving the EU, by pushing up prices and hitting farmers hard across the country.

The NFU study shows that under both the Canada-type FTA deal or WTO trade models prices would increase by 5% and 8% respectively. And under both models – with financial support removed – farm incomes would fall by €24,000 under the Canada model and €17,000 under the WTO model. The report noted that both a WTO and an FTA deal would have an “anti-trade bias”.

It further revealed that even a third option – trade liberalisation – would still increase prices, with this approach hitting UK meat production and meaning large losses for farms with support withdrawn. It added that under this scenario, with the full abolition of direct support, farm incomes would fall on average by €36,000.

The NFU concluded that “the combination of a more liberal trade policy and a reduction or elimination of direct support would make many British farms less viable.”

In response to the study former NFU President, Sir Peter Kendall, said that the report is further demonstration of why Britain’s farmers are better off inside the European Union.

He said: “The report’s conclusion highlights the most likely outcome for British agriculture if we leave the EU and it makes for depressing reading, with many farms facing a severe loss of income. This is exactly why Britain and our farmers will be better off if we remain in Europe – with full access to the single market giving us the best free trade deal of all. Leaving risks higher prices for families to put food on the table, lower incomes for hardworking farmers, and years of uncertainty creating a damaging economic shock.”

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