South West MEP Molly Scott Cato has written to Brexit Secretary David Davis to ask him to publish the results of ‘secret studies’ which assess the impact of leaving the single market and customs union on farmers.
Her call follows the leak of a document from the Department of Health which showed the NHS could be short of 40,000 nurses by 2026 without freedom of movement.
The letter said: “We know currently around 65 per cent of total UK agricultural exports go to the EU, while around 70 per cent of the UK’s imports originate from other EU countries.
“We also know removing us from the single market risks the possibility of punitive tariffs on exports and imports, while an end to free movement would make it impossible to take on the seasonal migrant labour from EU countries which is crucial to many farms.
“The farmers and communities I represent in the South West of England are rightly deeply concerned by the uncertainty which still surrounds such issues. For long-term planning they need reassurance and clear guidance from Government.”
Ms Scott Cato’s letter also asked if Ministers had explored the impact of reducing environmental regulations.
Her demands came shortly after the Brexit Secretary was criticised by the Farmers’ Union of Wales for admitting he had not looked at the economic implications of falling back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.
The Minister told MPs 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.