The UK Farming Roundtable1, representing farmers and growers from agricultural organisations across the UK, has today written to all MPs urging them to unite around a single option for an orderly Brexit by Wednesday next week. Failing this, the Government must request a further extension to the Article 50 negotiations.
The letter said: “We are intensely frustrated at the continuing impasse over the UK’s departure from the EU and urge you to take whatever steps are necessary, right now, to ensure the UK does not leave without a deal in the coming days.
“Government and parliament must ensure our departure from the EU is an orderly one. The farming sector is clear that leaving without a deal would cause huge economic damage to British farming. Over recent months farming organisations, alongside individual farmers and growers, have consistently warned MPs of the severe consequences that no-deal would have, not only for our agricultural and horticultural sectors and the jobs they provide, but also for food supply in the UK and the high standards to which our food is produced and our farmed environment is managed.
“To this end, if parliament has failed to coalesce around a single and clear option for an orderly departure from the EU by the end of the day on Wednesday 3rd April, government must request an extension from the EU27 to the Article 50 negotiations. This extension must be of sufficient length to allow government and MPs to agree a stable way forward out of the current impasse that ensures a stable operating environment for farm businesses. A further extension of just a matter of weeks is not acceptable, given the damaging time and resource that has already been expended in managing the threat of a no-deal departure over recent weeks and months.
“It is unacceptable for farming – and for wider British businesses – to be in a perpetual state of uncertainty with no clear idea of the trading conditions they could be operating under in just a matter of days. This extreme uncertainty is already having real-world impacts on British farming and food production, with investments being put on hold, critical jobs remaining unfilled and farm-gate prices facing increasing downward pressure.
“Time is almost up. MPs must now consider the concessions they will need to accommodate to bring to an end the enormous and damaging uncertainty that is already undermining our food and farming sectors, not to mention the wider economy.”