Andrea Leadsom – Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
ONn June 23, the people of this country voted to leave the European Union and we must now carry out their instruction.
I believe this gives us an unparalleled chance to design a set of policies that are tailored to the needs of the UK rather than 28 different member states.
As we make arrangements to leave the EU, I want to work with our European neighbours so that we get the best terms for the industry.
My Ministers and I will lead from the front in these negotiations, championing the industry and all that it has to offer.
We have always been a leading economic power, opening markets and championing free trade across the world. And, with your top-quality products, drive and innovation, we will continue to do so.
Food and farming generates more than £100 billion a year for our economy, while managing nearly three quarters of the UK’s land.
So while much of our focus will understandably be on the future of farming when we leave the EU, we will not lose sight of the challenges we face now, such as low farm prices, the shortage of skills and apprenticeships and of course the scourge that is bovine TB.
I would also like to be clear that until we leave the EU it is business as usual; the current arrangements for food, farming and the environment remain in place.
Farmers will continue to receive their support payments.However difficult things may be for many in the industry right now, I believe that farming in the UK has a bright future.
Our continued investment in state-of-the-art science and technology is making our farmers among the most efficient and productive in the world.
We are recognised as a global hub of agricultural research, leading the way in finding solutions to some of the world’s greatest agricultural challenges.
The Great British brand is stronger than ever, renowned across the globe for its quality, innovation and tradition.
Whether it’s English cheese, Scotch whisky, Welsh lamb or Northern Irish beef, people want to buy our products. In the upcoming negotiations, we have a real opportunity to forge strong economic links with our European neighbours, as well as our friends in North America, the Commonwealth and other countries around the world.
As we draw up our plans, it is vital that we harness your knowledge, experience and common sense.
We will make sure your voices are heard.