Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The perils of a no deal Brexit

Addressing the NFU conference yesterday, Michael Gove made it clear that a no deal Brexit would be highly damaging for UK agriculture. Tariffs of at least 40 per cent could be imposed on sheep meat and beef, rising to 100 per cent in some cases. SPS checks would be imposed on exports, slowing down their processing which would mean they would be less fresh on arrival: Full text of Gove speech

One piece of good news for farmers is that there will not be zero tariffs on food imports which might have been politically attractive as a way of reducing the price of food. However, as always, the devil is in the detail. It is not clear which sectors would benefit although Mr Gove implied it would be sheep meat, beef, poultry, dairy products and pig meat. There was no mention of grains, fruit, vegetables or flowers.

The Government could also provide direct cash support for hard hit businesses, although it is not clear what the budget would be or how it would be allocated. The vulnerable livestock sector would presumably benefit.

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