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Farmers can only hope Government’s no-deal rescue package for ag is sufficient

The Government’s package to protect ag in a no-deal Brexit proves Ministers expect it to have a big impact, but farmers can only hope the size of the hit has been accurately assessed, says Matt Legge, a livestock farmer from the Isle of Wight.

Our new Prime Minister has a big task on his hands and seems determined to follow through on the promises he made during the referendum campaign.

 

Our industry is getting in front of the new political office holders, but we need to keep at this, to ensure we don’t get forgotten.

 

The threat of a no-deal Brexit now seems more real than ever.

 

One would hope this is a bargaining stick to beat the EU negotiators with, and it is possible the threat of the UK walking away in this way may bring them back to the negotiating table.

 

The appointment of Michael Gove to a position where he is planning for a no-deal scenario is an interesting one.

 

Experience

 

His experience in Defra has built connections and knowledge of our industry and I hope he makes good use of these.

 

The ‘parachute package’ being mooted as a lifeline for agriculture in the event of no deal suggests Government is expecting no-deal to have a major impact.

 

Let’s just hope they have accurately assessed how big the hit will be, and will use any support to restore the market place and safeguard business.

 

The turmoil created by the ongoing uncertainty has been reflected in the beef price plummet of recent weeks.

 

Is this the result of holding back stock in preparation, then flooding the market, or is all the confusion and uncertainty just giving the buyers an excuse to manipulate the market place?

 

Security

 

This scenario proves competition is essential throughout the supply chain, so the security and expansion of UK markets has become even more of a focus.

 

We are not in a position to lose our biggest customer.

 

It’s interesting to look at World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules and tariffs as the Halloween exit date approaches.

 

It’s true to say tariffs can be applied coming in, as well as out, but there seems to be a loop hole for the Irish.

 

The sceptic in me expects the Irish to UK trade to grow exponentially, using the low and zero tariff opportunity as a gateway for other EU products.

 

Modelling suggests the weakening pound may mitigate the flood of imports, to an extent, but distortion will affect our markets, while also pushing up many input costs.

 

The potential for another general election is de-stabilising.

 

Win

 

The question is, what would change? Would any other party be better, or would the existing establishment gain more favour? Is there even a chance that a remain-supporting party might win the day?

 

We’re promised we won’t have an election before Halloween, but its triggering may be unavoidable if an acceptable resolution cannot be found by that date.

 

The industry will show resilience, but the clouding of the crystal ball is unhelpful.

 

Perhaps Boris might make some progress and my next contribution will be assisted by a clearer plan?

 

Matt can be found tweeting at @duxmore


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