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Recent voices sounding off about food rotting at ports under a hard Brexit look to have set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power.
There are few things governments fear more than the talk of empty shelves and rocketing food prices. It does nothing but unsettle the electorate, and must be even more disconcerting to those with only a precarious hold on power.
So any such reports require a reassuring response, and Sunday TV viewers would have heard Secretary of State Chris Grayling trying to find one. When pressed on the consequences of Britain leaving the EU with no deal, he simply said farmers could ‘grow more here’ and ‘we will buy more from around the world’. No problem there then.
Comforting as it may be to be in the innermost thoughts of any Minister, albeit the Transport Secretary, this must be one of the first, if not the first, mention of a role for agriculture under any sort of Brexit settlement.
But perhaps most galling is the implicit assumption that the industry just turns on a tap and you have all the food you could possibly want, and yet, as we emerge from under CAP steerage, we are left sitting on the sidelines in any Government discussion.
If we cannot supply the goods domestically, then he was equally cavalier about importing more, assuming he can find it. Food security seemed to matter not one jot to him.
Well Mr Grayling, if you or your Government want the home supplies, you need to be starting to set up the conditions to encourage producers to do the job. And maybe one of the first things, which is crying out for resolution right now, is the labour supply to keep the very wheels of agriculture turning.
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