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Give farming industry extra cash to adapt to Brexit, say MPs

A group of MPs has called on the Government to give extra cash to the farming industry to help it adapt to a post-Brexit world.  


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Give farming industry extra cash to adapt to Brexit, say MPs

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee made the recommendation as part of a new report it has produced, Brexit: Trade in Food.

 

The MPs also demanded that Ministers make clear how they plan to deal with regulatory divergence from the EU.

 

This request is particularly important as officials have reportedly named agricultural policy as one of only three areas where the Government envisages ‘immediate’ divergence from EU rules at the end of any Brexit transition period.


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Neil Parish, chair of the committee, said: “60 per cent of the UK’s agricultural exports and 70 per cent of its imports are from the EU.

 

“In order to safeguard the livelihoods of UK farmers and guarantee domestic food security post-Brexit, it is vital the Government articulates its vision for protecting both.

 

“UK agriculture will need to adapt to the changed circumstances following Brexit, so the Government should consider putting funding in place to enable farmers to do so.”

The committee also called on Ministers to set out how they will make sure IT systems and infrastructure are in place to deal with the import and export of agricultural produce so businesses can continue to trade smoothly with Europe and the rest of the world.

 

The demand follows revelations that Defra is to spend around £7 million on a new import control system for animals, animal products and high-risk food and feed before the EU Withdrawal Bill is passed, expected to be around April.

 

Other recommendations for Government included publishing a sector-by-sector analysis of the impact of Brexit before the Agriculture Bill is released, developing political relationships with potential new trading partners and ensuring new trade deals do not undermine UK animal welfare, environmental or food standards.

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