Prime Minister’s commitments to British farming welcomed
Published:  22 March, 2017

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitments to supporting British farming post-Brexit.

During Prime Minister’s Question Time last week, in a response to Victoria Atkins MP, Louth and Horncastle, May said there was an opportunity to “build a new future” for the farming and food industries once the UK leaves the European Union.

She said: “We will maintain the UK’s high standards of food safety and animal welfare. That will be a priority for us and any trade we enter into will need to be right for consumers, for business and for farmers. They will need to ensure our food safety and environmental protection and, of course, the animal welfare standards I just referred to. We recognise the need for certainty for businesses and we’ve already provided guarantees of support for farmers up to 2020 and I can assure her we will continue to back British farmers.”

NFU president Meurig Raymond commented that the Union was pleased to hear farming’s contribution to the country had been recognised by May.

“For every £1 invested in farming, it gives £7.40 back to the nation,” he explained. “It provides the raw ingredients for a food and farming sector worth £108 billion and employing nearly four million people. It’s providing a secure food system within our stores, feeding the nation. To maintain, or even accelerate, British farming’s contribution post-Brexit, we need government to secure the right trade conditions and access to a competent and reliable workforce in formal negotiations.”

Raymond added that the Prime Minister’s recognition for British farming was necessary for the industry. “We’re continuing to push for commitments for when the Treasury’s guarantee comes to a close at the end of 2019. After all, this will be when the UK is operating outside the EU.

“The Prime Minster rightfully says we have an opportunity to build a new future for our industry post-Brexit. The NFU’s work on post-Brexit policy will ensure government is able to seize this opportunity so the farming sector can thrive.”