The man once known in Westminster as the ‘Brexiteers’ brain’ has told the Financial Times that if we are going to insist on stringent animal welfare and environmental standards for imported food, we “should never have left the EU.”
This will come as a surprise to many farmers who voted to leave but didn’t expect to find themselves competing with low-cost imports produced to a lower standard.
The FT’s report has charts that show only the Americans spend less of their income on food than we do. In addition, UK farmers make less that 1 per cent return on capital employed, compared to between 6 and 12 per cent for all the other links in the food chain. To reduce this further would put many out of business.
A no deal exit would be extremely damaging to the farming sector, but even if an FTA is struck, Britain faces a crucial decision about its food supply outside the EU. The terms agreed with other countries will determine the level of competition farmers will be faced with from foreign suppliers.
Read full report by Yorkshire Bylines: Brexit guru: if you want high food standards you should never have left the EU
Read full FT report (subscription required): Coronavirus: UK farmers face brutal test ahead of Brexit