The Brexit Toolkit can be found in the Library section of the Farmers Club website.
IN a new report from the Centre for Policy Studies “Brexit, Agriculture and Agricultural Policy” ex-Senior Civil Servant Sir Richard Packer reveals the huge potential agricultural policy has for Britain, both in the negotiations before Brexit and benefits afterward, writes Farmers Club Journal Editor Charles Abel.
The report, which can be viewed in The Farmers Club Brexit Toolbox , notes that the conditions of trade in agricultural goods and food is likely to feature prominently in the Brexit negotiations, not least because:
- Agriculture accounts for 0.7% of GDP in the UK – less than half the EU average;
- In 2015 the UK trade deficit in food, feed and drink was £20 billion/year – of which £16.7 billion was with the EU(27).
In the event that the UK leaves the Single Market, negotiations on the rules for UK/EU(27) trade in agricultural goods and food will be needed. Given the UK’s large trade deficit in agriculture and food with the EU(27), the Government will have a strong hand to deploy in this section of the negotiations, the report states.
It goes on to argue that, free to establish its own agricultural policy, Britain could take full advantage of the potential “benefits” of Brexit; including freedom from the payment of EU agricultural subsidies; the ability to establish national rules in policy areas such as plant and animal health and GM foods; and the simplification of the system of support payments to British farmers.
It suggests that post-Brexit, the desired attributes of a UK agricultural policy should be:
- the encouragement of an efficient agricultural sector which contributes to national prosperity;
- a policy which costs no more than the present one, as measured both by PSE (which captures both financial and consumer costs together and is the terms in which WTO commitments are defined) and, separately, in financial terms;
- one which contributes to environmental aims in terms of both landscape and biodiversity;
- one which meets consumers‘ needs in terms of the availability of nutritious food at reasonable prices;
- one which minimises bureaucracy and administrative expenditure by all parties.
The post-Brexit policy document produced by the Tenant Farmers Association is also now included in the Club’s Brexit Toolkit, as well as the following useful reports:
- Farming Unions + food industry letter to PM
- Farming Unions Brexit Vision report
- Department for Exiting the EU
- Who is in the Department for Exiting the EU
- FT on farming post-Brexit
- Brexit in 7 FT charts
- Trade deal challenges, The Economist
- Single point of entry trade barrier (VCRs via Poitiers 1982)
- George Eustice on Brexit (FC Journal 265 Winter p6)
- Nick Clegg on Brexit
- Lord Curry on Brexit (FC Journal 265 Winter p10)
- Agri-business post-Brexit, Professor David Harvey - RuSource report
- Brexit and environment schemes, ADAS – RuSource report
- Commercial farmers group
To suggest further items contact Journal Editor Charles Abel.
During 2017 the Club’s increasingly popular Monday Evening Lectures will provide more excellent opportunities for members to secure privileged Brexit insights, and provide direct feedback to those involved in the framing of farming’s new policies.
The Club will also make available good Brexit commentary and well-informed opinion, using the Club Journal, website and social media postings, to help members anticipate and react to Brexit opportunities, and identify and adjust to Brexit threats.
The Club will be an ideal place, as ever, for formal and less formal meetings with those who will shape future agricultural policy. But what is clear is that the Club will not make representations on its own behalf. Its interest is to foster better understanding – for members and policy-makers alike.
 Sir Richard Packer was a career civil servant mostly at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). As a junior official he worked on the Wilson (1967) and Heath (1970-72) bids to enter the 'Common Market.' Directly after UK accession to the EEC (as it was) he was seconded as first secretary at the UK Permanent Representation in Brussels (1973-76). For most of his career he was a regular and frequent attendee at the many ministerial and official committee meetings in Brussels. He was Permanent Secretary 1993-2000.