Latest News / Professional

Brexit – Food for thought

12th January 2017

A note on some of the implications of Brexit by Roger Parry

The main issue, as far as I can see, is between access to the EU single trading market and the control of immigration.

So what is relevant to agriculture?

Advantages include:

1. Devaluation of the pound has given an increase in commodity prices, increased BPS payments and made our exports more competitive, especially the lamb market.

2. The opportunity to produce more home-grown food.

Disadvantages include:

1. Imported goods dearer (machinery, food etc.), risk of inflation, uncertainty of foreign labour availability (20% of agri industry workers are currently foreign).

2. Bureaucracy is unlikely to change as it provides employment, although it adds costs to business.

3. Uncertainty over BPS, or its equivalent long term, and therefore the effects on agricultural incomes and furthermore land prices and rents.

The UK is also a large market for the 27 European Union countries, so we hope our negotiators over Brexit can achieve good results for UK agriculture – a case of political brinkmanship needed!

It is unlikely that there will be complete agreement within the two years of activating Article 50, so interim agreements are probable.