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Ed Leahy

BY ED LEAHY

Government urged to create farming fund

A parliamentary report released yesterday called on government to help agriculture through post-Brexit transition

Government urged to create farming fund

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The government should start a farming fund to help the industry survive Brexit according to a new parliamentary report.

The cross-party environment, food and rural affairs select committee urged the government to release cash to the agricultural sector to help them “adapt effectively to the challenge ahead”.

They added that the introduction of low tariffs under new WTO trading rules could put farmers out of business, while high tariffs would raise costs for consumers.

The British Retail Consortium told the committee that prices of tomatoes could increase by 18 per cent, while broccoli could go up 10 per cent.

They said high British food safety and animal welfare standards should not be sacrificed on the “altar of cheap imports”.

The report, tagged “Brexit: Trade in Food” was published yesterday after months of consultation with industry figures, as Britain moves towards Brexit without an official agricultural policy.

The committee called for the publication of an agricultural bill as soon as possible claiming the government has “offered no clarity” on post-Brexit policy.

They affirmed fears that border delays could affect perishable goods, suggesting the government invest in IT to speed up border crossings.

The EU is the UK’s single largest trading partner in agri-food products, accounting for 60% of exports and 70% of imports.

The government is aiming to continue free trade agreements with the EU, but committee said establishing regulations by 2020 is “extremely ambitious”.

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