NSA calls on new Prime Minister Boris Johnson to focus on stability in any new Brexit policy

23rd July 2019

NSA is calling on new Prime Minister Boris Johnson not to play populist politics as he sets out his Brexit plan.

NSA Chief Executive Phil Stocker comments: “This is not a time for playing politics or making rash promises in an attempt to demonstrate perceived leadership strength. Britain needs stability and a framework that avoids business disruption, with serious consideration of sectors like the sheep industry that we know are particularly vulnerable. The picture is bleak for British sheep farming if Mr Johnson refuses to avoid a hard or disorderly departure from the EU – something we know would result in major trade disruption with inadequate time to put in place alternative options.”

NSA has been calling for a proper contingency plan to be put in place for some time, but is picking up its urgency in light of Mr Johnson’s apparent willingness for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Stocker adds: “Leaving without a deal and ending up with a WTO Brexit will cripple our trade. We currently export some 35% of our sheepmeat, with around 96% of that going to EU markets. To suddenly add a tariff of 40-50% of value will make trade to the EU unworkable without severe price collapses that the industry cannot carry. Promises of a rescue package once things have gone wrong are the wrong approach – what is needed is a strategic package of measures to avoid collapse in the first place. I urge Mr Johnson to prioritise an orderly Brexit that gives continuity with trade, and the formation of a clear strategic plan that negates any breakdown of Britain’s sheep farming industry.”

Further to the risk of a no deal, NSA is calling for Mr Johnson to make careful considerations when appointing his new cabinet. Mr Stocker explains: “At such a fragile time, the last thing our industry needs is a change in our Secretary of State or Ministers, but if they must come then we hope the new Prime Minister will carefully consider who he appoints. We need a Defra team with an understanding of agriculture and its role in the countryside.”

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