The NPA has urged MPs to ensure they avoid a potentially catastrophic Brexit ‘No Deal’, ahead of a potentially defining Brexit vote today.
The Commons is set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit withdrawal deal this evening, after the ‘meaningful vote’ was postponed in December. Mrs May has been trying to drum up support for her agreement, which includes a 21-month transition period and the sets out the basis for close ties with the EU once it ends. But with the Irish ‘back stop’ issue still unresolved, she is widely expected to suffer a heavy defeat unless something dramatic happens.
Defeat would generate fresh uncertainty over our future status, with MPs having positioned themselves to take greater control in this scenario. Possible consequences include a General Election, a delay to our departure, growing momentum for a ‘People’s Vote’ or even exiting the EU without a deal in place.
It has been well documented that a ‘no deal’ Brexit could have major implications for the farming sector, including a delay before we can export animals and animal products to the EU and long delays at ports once exports do resume, with added bureaucracy and associated costs.
There would be debilitating tariffs on exports, while the Government has indicated that it might waive tariffs on inferior imports to keep a lid on food prices. There could be shortages of inputs, such as veterinary medicines, higher input costs and potentially labour shortages.
NPA chief executive Zoe Davies: “We have been clear from the start that we want to avoid a ‘no deal’ Brexit at all costs. It would create unacceptable disruption to trade in pork products, undermining the crucial carcase balance the current two-way trade ensures, on top of likely added costs to producers. The combination of factors would put huge pressure on an industry where margins are already very tight, and in some cases currently, non-existent.
“That is why we are urging MPs to back the Prime Minister’s deal, which, it is worth repeating, is not the final deal but simply sets out the terms of our withdrawal. Even though it is far from perfect, it does at least provide a transition, some continuity and, above all, certainty. The current uncertainty is making it very difficult for the pig sector to function normally.
“A ‘no deal’ Brexit remains a last resort, but it is, nonetheless a distinct possibility. We are urging both Producer and Allied Industry members to ensure they consider how such a scenario could affect their businesses and what steps they could take to mitigate the impact.”