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Jeremy Hunt pledges £6 billion no-deal support for farmers and fishermen

But NFU President Minette Batters said it remained the case that a no-deal would be catastrophic for farmers.


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Jeremy Hunt pledges £6 billion no-deal support for farmers and fishermen

Conservative leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt has pledged to set aside £6 billion to help farmers and fisherman cope with a no-deal Brexit if he becomes Prime Minister.

 

Mr Hunt said the money would help ease the transition for fishermen and farmers as he told supporters he would call off talks on a new EU agreement by September 30 if there was no progress.

 

Catastrophic

 

NFU President Minette Batters said: "While it is reassuring to see that Jeremy Hunt recognises that farmers will be some of the hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit, it remains the case it would be simply catastrophic for British food and farming.


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“It is crucial that any future Prime Minister and their Government takes every measure to avoid this outcome,” she said.

 

She added no-deal would mean the loss of thousands of businesses biggest trading partner, significant disruption to imports of products such as medicines and the potential for imports produced to standards which would be illegal in the UK.

 

“Whilst this sum of money may seem significant, it can only have a limited impact on mitigating the devastation a no-deal Brexit would have on farming and the British economy in the long term."

 

NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick said they would like to see further clarity, it was a clear recognition of the devastation ‘no-deal’ would cause.

 

“While it seeks to address the severe damage that a shift to tariffs under the WTO default would have on our important export trade with Europe and the rest of the World, any measures must also address the inequalities associated with tariffs and standards applied to any imported produce.

 

He added they have offered to meet both candidates when they visit Scotland this week.

 

NFUS demands on Brexit included avoiding a no-deal and securing as close as possible a trading relationship with the EU.

 

Demands

 

“We must gain greater control over regulations; maintain access to non-UK seasonal and permanent workers and see our leading production standards recognised in any trade deal.”

 

Tim Breitmeyer, CLA president, said it was recognition of the unique circumstances of the sector.

 

“This is especially true for sectors such as sheep farming where the deadline of October 31 could not come at a worse time.”

 

However, he added it must not ‘mask’ the real issues of a no-deal, with the future leader needing to negotiate a future trade deal with the EU which is as’ free and frictionless as possible’.

 

He Mr Hunt’s plan was also unclear in some areas.

 

“Without further details then this could be viewed as simply another example of kicking the can down the road."

 

Phil Stocker, National Sheep Association chief executive, welcomed the commitment, highlighting a no-deal would be ‘devastating’ for the sheep industry/

 

“A no deal scenario, resulting in falling back to WTO rules, would mean exporting sheepmeat into the EU, our largest sheepmeat exporting partner, with a 40-50 per cent tariff, making this an unaffordable market for UK farmers. Providing support with tariffs would be a fantastic way to help farmers through this rocky time, and we welcome it immensely.”


NSA was concerned by the process of this support adding to deliver it the Government would need to come up with a ‘creative process’ which did not leave the country open to WTO challenge.

 

Mr Stocker also called for a similar commitment from the other candidate in the race, Boris Johnson.

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