NFU urges PM to answer key questions on EU referendum
As Britain prepares to decide how it will vote on the EU referendum, farmers and growers must have more information about how their businesses will be affected if the country stays in or leaves the EU, says the NFU.
NFU president, Meurig Raymond, said: “If Britain is to stay in the EU then David Cameron must be clear. How will the UK’s position within the EU’s single market be made stronger? Will this week’s European Council lead to a commitment to create a globally competitive market with less red tape and compliance costs and better regulation for the benefit of British agriculture?
The NFU is currently working with leading agricultural research institute from the Netherlands, LEI Wageningen, to model the potential impact of a Brexit under three separate trading scenarios. In each of the scenarios the effects of three different levels of agricultural support will be estimated. The impact of these policy changes on UK commodities production, domestic farm-gate prices, farm incomes and trade flows will be modelled.
“British farmers must not go into an EU referendum without all the information,” Raymond continued. “If Britain stays in the EU we need to know what steps will be taken to make European agriculture more competitive. And will there be an EU commitment to regulations that are more science-based and proportionate? If we remain a member state, will we be able to remove some of the blocks to progress – such as barriers to biotechnology?
“If we leave the EU what will a British agriculture policy look like and what is the future of support payments? How will British farmers access the European market and will the UK be more open to imports from outside Europe?
“These are the questions that the NFU is asking both sides of the argument. We must have clear and accurate answers which the agriculture industry can depend on to make their decision when a referendum is announced.”