No-deal Brexit ‘catastrophic’ for UK food and farming, unions warn

No-deal Brexit ‘catastrophic’ for UK food and farming, unions warn
Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin

A no-deal Brexit could result in “catastrophic impacts” for the UK’s food and farming sector, the nation’s four farming unions have warned.

In an open letter sent today (Thursday 10) ahead of the meaning vote on the Prime Minister’s deal on Tuesday 15, the unions urge MPs to take all the necessary steps to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

These impacts, the organisations argue, include massive disruption; high custom tariffs on exports and the UK forced to import food produce to lower standards.

Speaking in a joint letter, the organisations – comprising NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers’ Union, said: “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.”