Farmers’ five policy priorities for new prime minister Boris Johnson

PUBLISHED: 15:56 23 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:56 23 July 2019

Newly-elected Conservative leader Boris Johnson has become the new prime minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Newly-elected Conservative leader Boris Johnson has become the new prime minister. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Farmers have set out five key policy priorities for new prime minister Boris Johnson – with industry leaders in East Anglia urging him to avoid the potential damage of a no-deal Brexit.

After the new Conservative leader was announced, the National Farmers' Union (NFU) wrote to him to insist he does "everything in his power to ensure that our departure from the EU is carried out in a smooth and orderly way".

Rachel Carrington, the NFU's regional director for East Anglia, said: "We have made it clear, when meeting MPs across the region and in the letter, that a no-deal Brexit could have significant impacts on farm businesses and food production.

"It's vital that we avoid supply chain disruption, potential labour shortages and the prospect of the UK being opened up to food imports produced to lower standards and lower costs, against which our farmers would struggle to compete.

"We are also asking the new prime minister to look beyond Brexit, with five additional policy priorities that will help create a sustainable, vibrant and competitive future for our farming sector."

The NFU's five policy priorities are:

- Stimulating farm business competitiveness and innovation through policies that ensure British farming is a leader in its field and result in a more resilient and advanced sector.

- Rising to the challenges of tackling climate change through concerted government effort to put in place the policies to help deliver the NFU's ambition to reach net zero by 2040.

- Promoting our high food standards through trade policy, building a globally recognised British food brand and ensuring our high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection are not undermined by trade deals that allows imports of food that would be illegal to produce in the UK.

- Ensuring an adequate supply of labour by delivering a future immigration system that is fit for purpose and recognises the specific needs and challenges of agriculture and horticulture

- A long-term budgetary commitment for food and farming through a new agricultural policy that rewards farmers fairly for delivering public goods, supports stability and resilience, and provides funding that recognises the long, multi-annual timeframes farmers and growers operate to.

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