NSA welcomes government no deal preparations, but continues to stress the need for a good deal
24th August 2018
The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed the technical notices released by the Government detailing the preparations in place for the possibility of a no deal Brexit, however emphasises how essential a deal that allows the free movement of goods, remains for sheep farming.
While NSA is clear that a deal that supports the interests of sheep farming and agriculture in the UK is essential, it is pleased to see the Government putting procedures in place for a no deal scenario. It says this work provides essential information for the industry but will also help the negotiation process and reduce the risk of a ‘no deal’ scenario.
NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker says: “NSA has been clear that British sheep farming needs to be able to continue to work with Europe post-Brexit, the markets for sheep meat and other agricultural sectors are too important for the UK not to. We are absolutely against a no deal scenario; however, it would be foolish to not put protocols in place. Until we see a deal signed and agreed there is no promise we will not be in a no deal situation, and NSA welcomes the government beginning to lay out procedures for this outcome. Ironically their publication may reduce the risk of a no deal, something that is encouraging.”
The notices have touched on issues such as Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments, and the means to resolve trade disputes. NSA has been calling for reassurance on these issues and welcomes the information presented in the technical notes that would, in the event of a no deal, pave the way until changes are made by the Agriculture Bill or a similar Bill in the devolved Parliaments. NSA is pleased to see in this situation that UK farmers would continue to receive farm payments in the same way they do under the current system at least until legislative change. However, there are still outstanding issues and NSA says the government needs to go further.
Mr Stocker continues: “There could be particular problems for organic food exports including organic lamb, with an approval process needed that would take considerable time but couldn’t be started until after we had left the EU. However, this disruption would affect organic imports as well as exports and may provide an impetus on both sides to find a resolution. There is still more that needs to be done and we encourage the government to provide further reassurances, and, most importantly, carrying on working to secure a deal that supports British sheep farming, and agriculture.”