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Farmers fear ‘catastrophic’ no-deal scenario if EU withdrawal agreement fails

PUBLISHED: 17:42 15 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:42 15 November 2018

Seagulls follow a tractor ploughing near Brampton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Seagulls follow a tractor ploughing near Brampton. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

East Anglia’s farming leaders warned of a “catastrophic” no-deal scenario if the prime minister’s draft withdrawal agreement is not adopted by Parliament.

NFU East Anglia regional director Rachel Carrington. Picture: Warren Page/Pagepix Ltd.NFU East Anglia regional director Rachel Carrington. Picture: Warren Page/Pagepix Ltd.

Rachel Carrington, regional director for the National Farmers’ Union, said: “A no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for farm businesses across East Anglia.

“The NFU has maintained that free and frictionless trade with the EU is absolutely critical for British agriculture. Under the Single Market, the same rules apply if you are trading between Norwich and Bedford or Norwich and Budapest. That would end in the event of a no deal, without any transition period.

“It is likely we would see supply chain disruption, with delays at the border as checks are made on goods moving between the UK and EU. There would also be a temporary ban on exports of meat, dairy eggs and other animal products to the EU, until the UK was listed as an approved third country.

“A no deal scenario could lead to labour shortages, with sectors such as poultry and horticulture at most risk. The UK could also be opened up to food imports produced to lower standards and with lower costs, against which our farmers would struggle to compete.

“For the arable farmers in our region they could struggle to access the plant protection products or other inputs they need, as products could be held up in delays at the border.

“This withdrawal agreement – if approved – would remove these threats and provide some desperately-needed short-term stability while our future relationship with the EU is negotiated.”

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