The newly-appointed Brexit Secretary, Dominic Raab, has refused to commit to offer targeted support to the dairy industry in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
Mr Raab was questioned about the Government’s plans to help dairy farmers, who will face a 35.4 per cent tariff to export to the EU if the UK falls back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, during a hearing of the Brexit Select Committee last week.
When responding, the Minister was quick to point out the ‘folly’ of maintaining the EU’s common external tariff, which he described as ‘regressive’ and ‘protectionist’.
“I am not going to specific instance by instance drip feed out the nature of the planning we are doing,” he added.
“We have got the extra money which has been allocated in the budget and we will be issuing a series of technical notices which will, in a responsible and reassuring way, explain what we are doing to mitigate the risks whilst giving the full picture, so whether it is farmers or citizens or other businesses, they understand what their position is and what the support we will provide is.”
Although dairy farmers would face crippling tariffs in the event of a no deal Brexit, research has suggested producer prices could increase by 30 per cent under WTO rules.
This is because the UK is a net importer of dairy products and the high tariffs faced by EU farmers would reduce the volume of imports and available supplies, significantly boosting UK prices.
For the net exporting sectors, however, the story is different. Prices for sheep and barley farmers would be expected to fall by 30 and 5 per cent respectively in a no deal scenario.