In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning CLA President Ross Murray called on Government to dispel confusion and uncertainty by setting out the Government’s Plan B for farming in case of a Brexit scenario.
The CLA represents more than 33,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales. It is warning that investment, jobs and the environment will be put at risk without assurance from Government that plans are being developed to address significant issues for farming and the rural sector, whatever the outcome of the EU Referendum.
CLA President Ross Murray said: “Whatever the outcome of the Referendum, there are important decisions that the Government will need to make to ensure the continued health of farming and the wider rural economy.
“With no clear Government plan set out for farming and the rural sector in the case of a vote for Brexit and with Defra Ministers supporting opposing campaigns, there is a lack of clarity around what is statement of fact and what is conjecture regarding Government plans. This is causing confusion and uncertainty around investment decisions and around meeting long-term environmental commitments.
“The rural business community is looking for more from Government and the civil service, specifically to set out what would be involved in a Brexit scenario for the rural sector.”
In March the CLA published a report Leave or Remain: The Decisions That Politicians Must Make to Support the Rural Economy, which sets out the four priority areas for farming and rural businesses concerning the EU Referendum:
- Access to EU and world markets for UK agricultural products must continue, as unfettered as possible;
- Ministers must assure the farming industry that payments currently delivered through the Common Agricultural Policy scheme will be delivered up to 2020, which is the end of the current scheme. The CLA welcomes working with Government on plans for what an appropriate UK scheme would look like and to ensure land managers can continue to care for the environment beyond 2020.
- There needs to be a mechanism for those farm based businesses which rely significantly on overseas labour to continue to access the workforce they need; and
- Persuasive arguments that Government has the capacity to significantly reduce red tape and modernise regulation.