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Farming unions join forces on Brexit concerns
Published:  07 November, 2016

The UK’s four farming unions have issued a joint call for the government to “maintain full, unfettered access to the single market”. 

The presidents of the four unions met earlier this month to discuss collective concerns for the agri-food industry once Great Britain leaves the European Union.

In a joint statement, NFU president Meurig Raymond, NFU Scotland president Allan Bowie, Ulster Farmers’ Union president Barclay Bell and NFU Cymru president Stephen James said: “UK agriculture supplies the building blocks to the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, food and drink.

“Worth £108bn and employing 3.9m people spread across every parliamentary constituency, the industry is bigger than the automotive and aerospace sectors combined.

“Retaining tariff-free access to the EU single market is vital for UK farmers – it’s where 75% of our food exports go – so all our farming unions will be working hard with our partners across the food and farming supply chain to achieve this outcome.”

The four presidents also aired concerns over the workforce, which is already shaping up to be a contentious issue.

“Continued access to a reliable and competent workforce is also essential to British farming’s competitiveness, as this underpins the UK food chain’s timely delivery of high-quality affordable food to consumers. If we achieve both these goals then the whole of society and the economy will benefit.”