MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee have been left ‘disappointed’ by the Government’s failure to set up a fund to help farmers adapt to a post-Brexit world.
The committee recommended the industry be given extra cash to adjust to the huge upcoming changes as part of its report, ‘Brexit: Trade in Food’, but Ministers have rejected the suggestion.
In its response to the recommendation, the Government pointed to its commitment to maintain financial support for agriculture at the same level until 2022.
It also claimed the Industrial Strategy, led by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, would be central to ‘driving the productivity agenda’ for the agrifood sector.
But chair of the committee Neil Parish told Farmers Guardian Defra was ‘palming off’ responsibility for supporting farmers to another Government department.
“Brexit brings many opportunities for farmers, and with these opportunities are challenges”, he said.
“I find it disappointing that Defra is unwilling to invest in our farmers to give them a competitive edge in the global market and promote Brand Britain overseas.
“And I am absolutely certain palming off farmers to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is not the answer.
“Defra should take responsibility and support farmers.”