Farming News - Industry reacts to Boris Johnson's appointment as PM

Industry reacts to Boris Johnson's appointment as PM

23 Jul 2019
Frontdesk / Finance

Tim Breitmeyer President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) said:

“We congratulate Mr Johnson on his victory and look forward to working together to realising the immense potential of the rural economy.

“The campaign is over and now the serious work of Government must begin. The rhetoric of No Deal must not be allowed to become the political default option. So too must the EU realise that the political dynamic has changed in the UK, and that a return to the negotiation table is the best way to ensure a smooth and orderly transition.

“In the long term it will be possible for rural businesses to adapt to the changing political landscape, just as they always have done. But for the immediate future, the uncertainty is deeply concerning and brings in to sharp focus the need for a long term funding settlement to replace the Common Agricultural Policy. This would provide much needed reassurance for farmers in uncertain times.

“The UK has a growing global reputation for its food production. In any future trade discussions our high standards must not be up for negotiation. Quite the opposite. They are our biggest selling point, and the Government must fly the flag for British produce loudly and proudly.”

Ian Wright CBE, FDF Chief Executive said:

"The UK's largest manufacturing sector, food and drink, is central to our critical national infrastructure. The industry employs more than 450,000 people across the nation. UK food and drink is globally renowned for its quality, provenance and taste.

"The industry's recently published 'Plan for Success' demonstrates how we can make the UK's £4 billion food chain the most dynamic and competitive in the world. It shows how - working in partnership with Government - we can boost exports, develop talent and encourage innovation.

"A no-deal Brexit would destroy that opportunity and much more. It will inflict serious and - in some cases mortal - damage on UK food and drink. Prices will rise, there will be significant shortages of some products, and disruption for shoppers and consumers will be far reaching. We urge the new Prime Minister and Government to work with us to deliver a withdrawal agreement that guarantees the closest possible trade and regulatory relationship with our nearest neighbours so UK food and drink can flourish.”

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “This is not a time for playing politics or making rash promises in an attempt to demonstrate perceived leadership strength. Britain needs stability and a framework that avoids business disruption, with serious consideration of sectors like the sheep industry that we know are particularly vulnerable. The picture is bleak for British sheep farming if Mr Johnson refuses to avoid a hard or disorderly departure from the EU – something we know would result in major trade disruption with inadequate time to put in place alternative options.”
NSA has been calling for a proper contingency plan to be put in place for some time, but is picking up its urgency in light of Mr Johnson’s apparent willingness for a no-deal.
Mr Stocker adds:
“Leaving without a deal and ending up with a WTO Brexit will cripple our trade. We currently export some 35% of our sheepmeat, with around 96% of that going to EU markets. To suddenly add a tariff of 40-50% of value will make trade to the EU unworkable without severe price collapses that the industry cannot carry. Promises of a rescue package once things have gone wrong are the wrong approach – what is needed is a strategic package of measures to avoid collapse in the first place. I urge Mr Johnson to prioritise an orderly Brexit that gives continuity with trade, and the formation of a clear strategic plan that negates any breakdown of Britain’s sheep farming industry.”