UK food and farming sector comes together in joint Brexit statement
As the UK Government announces a record year for food and drink exports, the nation’s food network has come together to put pressure on Westminster to deliver a Brexit that provides a safe, secure and affordable supply of food.
JOINT STATEMENT: Britain's export market grew to £22 billion last year
Thirty six organisations from across the food and farming sector have clubbed together on a statement outlining what a successful Brexit means to them.
The statement is the product of the NFU’s Brexit360 event at its HQ in Stoneleigh earlier this month which saw representatives from the industry’s main bodies discuss their common ground.
It calls on the Government to:
- Maintain free and frictionless trade with our major trading partner, the EU, and secure the benefits of existing EU preferential trade arrangements, at least until government can replace them with acceptable alternative arrangements,
- Ensure ongoing access to an adequate supply of permanent and seasonal labour,
- Continue to promote food production through agricultural policy alongside our existing high environmental, health and animal welfare standards, and
- 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 per cent 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.”
Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK said: “At this time of uncertainty I’m pleased that through the NFU the food supply chain has come together to clearly communicate the needs of the sector to thrive in a post-Brexit environment.
“Protecting the interests of the food supply chain is not only important for the UK economy, but also for protecting food security of the nation. We hope the UK Government will heed these objectives and support the food sector throughout the Brexit negotiations”
The whole statement can be read on the Food and Drink Federation’s website here.
The full list of signatories
Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC)
Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA)
Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC)
Animal Health Distributors Association (AHDA (UK) Ltd)
Association of Independent Meat Suppliers (AIMS)
Association of Labour Providers (ALP)
British Egg Industry Council
British Growers Association Ltd (BGA)
British Meat Processors Association (BMPA)
British Poultry Council (BPC)
British Retail Consortium (BRC)
British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB)
British Summer Fruits
Crop Protection Association (CPA)
Federation of Bakers
Food and Drink Federation (FDF)
Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC)
International Meat Trade Association (IMTA)
Livestock Auctioneers Association (LAA)
Maltsters’ Association of Great Britain (MAGB)
National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC)
National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers (NABIM)
National Farmers Union (NFU)
National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS)
National Office of Animal Health Ltd (NOAH)
National Pig Association (NPA)
National Sheep Association (NSA)
Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA)
Potato Processors Association
Provision Trade Federation (PTF)
Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF)
Scottish Land and Estates
Tenant Farmers Association (TFA)
Ulster Farmers Union (UFU)