1. ITV Report

Farming unions warn of ‘serious implications’ of no-deal Brexit

The four unions have urged MPs to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which they say could see ‘catastrophic impacts’ for the sector. Credit: UTV

The Ulster Farmers’ Union, have joined with other unions from across the UK, to call on MPs to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

Farming leaders outlined the impact such a scenario would have on the UK food sector, including the risk of ‘huge disruption’ and lower standards.

The NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers' Union joined forces to say that a no deal would have "serious implications" for the sector.

The organisations have written to MPs to "take all steps necessary" to ensure an agreement is reached.

According to the unions, the impact for the food and farming sector could include:

  • Huge disruption as a result of an effective trade embargo on the export of UK animals and animal based products
  • Affected sectors facing particularly high customs tariffs on exports. For example, the effective EU tariff would be 65% on beef, 46% on lamb and 27% on chicken
  • Huge disruption as a result of an effective trade embargo on the export of UK animals and animal based products

In a letter to MPs, the unions said: "Brexit will mean that, for the first time in a generation, UK politicians will have direct responsibility for ensuring our nation is properly fed.

"Yet, in the face of this fundamental responsibility, there is a very real risk that a disorderly Brexit will lead to an immediate reliance on overseas imports, produced to lower standards, while many UK farms struggle to survive.

"The implications, not only for domestic food supply but for the careful management of our cherished countryside, would represent an historic political failure.

"Our organisations remain committed to playing their part in managing Brexit in the best interests of farmers and the UK public in the years ahead, but we believe that leaving without a deal on March 29 will lead, very quickly, to the opposite outcome.

The letter concluded: "We urge MPs, in light of the central role Parliament will play in the coming days in resolving this impasse, to recognise the severe impact No Deal will have and to take all steps necessary to avoid such a departure coming to pass."