Full access to EU single market vital to farming’s success, says NFU

editorial image

Following its membership consultation on post-Brexit farming, the NFU has laid out the key priorities for its trade and access to labour policies.

This comes after the NFU’s bold and ambitious vision was agreed by NFU Council earlier this week.

“As Brexit negotiations near, we need government to be acutely aware of what’s at stake for British food and farming. If well executed, then the whole of society and the economy can benefit from competitive, profitable and progressive farm businesses.”

Meurig Raymond, NFU president

NFU president Meurig Raymond said: “As Brexit negotiations near, we need government to be acutely aware of what’s at stake for British food and farming. If well executed, then the whole of society and the economy can benefit from competitive, profitable and progressive farm businesses.

“We want full unfettered access to the single market - our consultation was clear that members wanted a new bespoke deal with the EU. Trading tariff-free has been hugely beneficial to both the UK and the EU - 38% of British lamb ends up on the EU market. We will be working with other UK farming unions and partners across the farming and food chain to achieve this outcome.”

The NFU president continued: “Trade needs to be on fair terms, so we’re calling on ministers to ensure imported goods produced to lower standards or using practices banned in the UK are controlled.

“Access to a flexible and competent workforce is essential to British farming’s competitiveness with 80,000 seasonal employees on farm now. We are calling for the government to trial a substantial fixed-term work permit scheme for agriculture and horticulture targeted at non-EU workers during 2017.

“It is also right that EU workers already in positions have right of residence in the UK. And we’ll be holding discussions with the government on the level of permanent labour and seasonal labour for the medium to long term.”