Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Cameron: Brexit would cost farmers millions in extra export costs

Farmers could be hit by higher tariffs if the UK leaves the EU, David Cameron has warned Credit: PA Wire

Withdrawal from the EU could jeopardise jobs and investment in British agriculture, with farmers losing as much as £330 million on lamb and beef exports alone, David Cameron has claimed.

The Prime Minister warned that British farmers could "suffer enormously" if the UK votes to leave the EU in the referendum on June 23.

Mr Cameron was putting agriculture at the centre of his latest appeal for voters to remain part of the 28-nation bloc as he visited a farm in north Wales. He was later due to address the Welsh Conservative conference.

He said that more than 90% of UK lamb and beef exports - worth around £605 million - currently go to the EU. The farming sector contributes £9.9 billion to the UK economy and employs almost half a million people.

If farmers had to rely on World Trade Organisation rules, rather than EU membership, to secure access to the market of 500 million people in Europe, they could be faced with tariffs costing £240 million a year for beef and £90 million for lamb, he said.

British farmers and food producers rely on the single market.

It gives them access to 500 million consumers, to whom they can sell their goods on an open, unrestricted basis. No tariffs, no barriers, no bogus health and safety rules designed to keep our products out.

If we left this single market and - as some suggest - relied on World Trade Organisation rules, the extra costs of exporting British beef would be £240 million a year. An extra £90 million would be added to the cost of British lamb exports.

British agriculture, British farmers and British jobs could suffer enormously if we were to leave the single market.

– David Cameron