The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has called on the Government to carry out an economic assessment of leaving the EU with no trade deal in place.
The demand came as Brexit Secretary David Davis admitted Ministers had not looked at the economic implications of falling back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “This is extremely worrying. We are about two weeks away from triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and our UK Government has no plan as to what will happen if we do not strike a positive deal with the EU.”
With tariff-free access to the single market, Mr Roberts said agriculture would not have much to worry about, but he raised concerns things would not go to plan – leaving farmers facing tariffs of up to 40 per cent.
“We urgently need some modelling work to be carried out to assess the potential impact on how many businesses will go out of business, how many jobs will be lost and how much money our rural economies will be losing out on”, he added.
Mr Davis received similar responses to his comments from MPs. Wolverhampton MP Pat McFadden told him he had ‘mortgaged the country’s economic future to a soundbite’, but the Minister was bullish in his response.
He said economic modelling was only as accurate as the assumptions which underpin it, and as the Government was looking to introduce a number of mitigation measures which would change the underlying assumptions, any forecast given now would be unreliable.
“All these things are being done piece-by-piece”, he added.
“When we have finished making the lego blocks, we will build the house, and then we will have the forecast you are looking for.”