Chatham House (the Royal Institute of International Affairs) has produced a new paper on the implications of Brexit for UK, EU and global agricultural reform: Chatham House
The briefing paper looks at four broad agricultural policy options for the UK after leaving the EU. It considers how these four models might perform in the context of future EU agricultural policy decisions and wider global trends and challenges.
The paper argues that for the UK, only a market-oriented model – aligned and integrated with a more effective commitment to the environment and climate change mitigation – would enable the country to benefit from free trade while keeping the government’s promise to improve the environment for the next generation. Applying such a model in the UK could lower prices for consumers, lift the economy’s productivity and allow for substantial budget savings to support the environment and public finances.
It would mean significant disruption for agricultural producers, and the political challenge of market reform should not be underestimated, but, the paper concludes, implementing a sustainable, market-oriented agricultural policy is a genuine opportunity for UK global leadership outside the EU in the next decade.
It is admitted that, 'A move to a genuinely market-oriented model would result in imports displacing UK products, and the removal of all forms of subsidies would cause some farming operations to fold. While the resulting lower prices would benefit consumers, importing businesses and the economy overall, it would also mean unviable agricultural businesses closing, being taken over or having to reinvent themselves. The livestock sector in particular is vulnerable in this regard, with rural communities, especially upland areas, likely to suffer the most commercially.'