NFU President responds to Tuesdays Commons votes

Responding to the votes on various amendments in the House of Commons on Tuesday, NFU President Minette Batters said: “The vote has done little to provide much-needed certainty for the future of food and farming in Britain, and time is running out.

“With less than two months to go until we leave the EU, we are hugely concerned that a no-deal Brexit is becoming increasingly likely.  The NFU has been absolutely clear that this would be catastrophic for food production in Britain.

“Leaving the EU without a deal could well mean a trade embargo is imposed on animals and animal products going to the EU which, along with punitive tariffs on all goods going into the EU, would severely restrict livestock farmers’ export markets. Meanwhile, the potential for Government to unilaterally lower import tariffs on food could lead to British farmers being undercut by food coming into the country which may have been produced to lower standards than is legally required of UK farmers.

“Although it is encouraging that the majority of MPs opposed a no-deal scenario in the votes last night, no-deal cannot simply be wished away. An agreement negotiated between the EU and UK, and accepted by Parliament, must be reached urgently to protect the country’s ability to produce its own food and feed its people.  

“The NFU will be assessing any deal against our six key principles agreed at an Extraordinary meeting of the NFU’s Council in December, which includes avoiding a no-deal and ensuring free and frictionless trade with our biggest trading partner.

“We are getting to crunch point now. British farming and food production, like the rest of the country, needs to see a deal in place so it can appropriately prepare for life after leaving the EU.”

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.