As Parliament returns after the summer recess, the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) is pressing for the emergence of some clear plans for how we will deal with the range of possible Brexit scenarios currently in play.
The TFA has expressed its consistent concern about the economic, environmental and animal welfare impacts of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit and therefore agrees with the Government that leaving the European Union with a deal would be the best Brexit outcome. However, leaving without a plan would be the worst scenario.
TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said “Despite over three years of debate, discussion and consultation we are devoid of any sensible plan for the way ahead. There is much talk about the options that are available and although Government Ministers are keen to stress that plans are in place, they need to be both informed by and shared with the widest possible array of business and other public interest groups that will be shouldering the responsibility of taking the country forward”.
At the beginning of August, the TFA joined with the Country Land and Business Association in writing to the Prime Minister to set out what both organisations believed to be the minimum requirements necessary for the preparations and policies needed to support the UK agricultural industry following our exit from the European Union. However, it is disappointing that, as yet, no response has been forthcoming either to that letter or to anybody else who has been asking the questions.
“There is only so much that the farming industry can do within the current vacuum of information and planning. We need to know what the Government plans to do across a range of areas. This includes what it will do to maintain and develop our access to export markets, how it might support agri-exports against an EU tariff wall, how will it use import tariffs to protect the domestic market, what are the plans for substituting the loss of migrant labour in farming, horticulture and food processing and how will it protect our high environmental and animal welfare standards in domestic food production,” said Mr Dunn.
“Although very late in the day, we need our elected representatives to use the time available to set aside political posturing in favour of the statesmanship needed to corral as much wisdom as can be mustered to chart a way ahead. Talk of holding a General Election now, whilst there is serious work to be done, would be at best an unwelcome distraction and at worst a major dereliction of duty at a time when we need true leadership,” said Mr Dunn.