Thirty-six organisations representing the UK’s food and farming industry have today [11 Feb] set out what a successful Brexit means to them and to promote a unified voice to Government from across the food sector in a joint statement1.
This comes after representatives met at the NFU’s Brexit360 event at its HQ in Stoneleigh earlier this week to discuss common ground in the industry.
Delegates were united in their view that a thriving domestic food and farming base is central to the future environmental, social and economic health of the country. They agreed that their sector will continue to have a critical role in providing a secure, affordable and trusted supply of food.
Attendees agreed a number of high level aims that the Government must seek to achieve in the coming months as the UK prepares to leave the EU, including:
- to maintain free and frictionless trade with our major trading partner, the EU, and to secure the benefits of existing EU preferential trade arrangements with other countries;
- to ensure ongoing access to an adequate supply of permanent and seasonal labour for food and farming businesses;
- to continue to promote food production through agricultural policy alongside the UK’s existing high environmental and animal welfare standards; and
- to ensure businesses operate under an efficient and proportionate regulatory system that is centred on scientific evaluation and that incentivises innovation and competitiveness.
NFU Director of EU Exit and International Trade Nick von Westenholz said: “This statement is a strong signal urging Government to recognise the crucial role the food supply sector will continue to play in post-Brexit Britain.
“In providing people with a safe, secure and affordable supply of food to some of the highest welfare and environmental standards in the world; in managing over 70% of the UK landmass that is farmed; in providing 3.9 million jobs in industries both pre- and post-farmgate; and in contributing to two of the UK economy’s big success stories: UK manufacturing and retail.
“The Government must ensure it supports these vital advantages delivered by UK food and drink businesses as it negotiates our withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU.
“This is a strong coalition of 36 signatories that represent a huge range of food businesses from farmers and agricultural suppliers, to food manufacturers and retailers. And there is more to come; we have agreed to build on the principles discussed and agreed during the day and to produce a shared manifesto harnessing the support of food and drink companies across the UK ahead of the EU Council in March.”