FUW leader warns against leaving Europe

FUW president Glyn Roberts is one of 42 leading figures from the UK farming industry who called for Britain to remain a member of the EU in a letter to The Times last month. Launching “Farmers for In” alongside a host of farmers from around the UK, the signatories argued that leaving the EU is a “risk we cannot afford to take”. The full text of the letter reads: Sir, Leaving the EU is too great a risk for UK farmers. Those campaigning for Britain to leave put forward a case that outside the EU, UK farmers would retain free access to the European market at the same time as ditching regulations, continuing to receive support payments and benefiting from free movement to plug the shortage of workers for seasonal jobs. This might sound like an attractive prospect, until you realise that the Leave campaigns have nothing to back up their claims. The European Single Market accounts for 73% of Britain’s agrifood exports and gives us access to a market more than twice the size of the USA. Outside the EU we could keep all or some of this market, but we would have to abide by EU regulations without a say in their formation and pay into the EU budget without receiving EU payments in return. We’d pay, but have no say. The Leave campaigns talk about trying to negotiate a free trade deal similar to the Swiss model. But that would not cover all products and would not give the same unrestricted access as provided by the Single Market. Where we did get duty-free access we would still be required to meet EU standards and regulations. In other words, the regulatory bonfire we’ve been promised by the Leave campaigns just wouldn’t happen. In any case, some of the worst regulations, as well as the ‘gold-plating’ of EU directives, happen in the UK, not Brussels. On direct payments, Leave campaigners have said it is inconceivable any UK government would drastically cut support. But it is government policy, set by Labour and endorsed by the Coalition in 2011, to abolish direct payments in 2020. What sort of new national farm policy would we end up with outside the EU? The leave camp is hopelessly divided; some want a more protectionist approach whilst others envisage removing all protection and importing food from wherever it is cheapest. Leaving the EU is a risk we cannot afford to take. It would mean reducing our access to our most important market, little or no reduction in regulation, no influence on future rules, the speedy abolition of direct support and an uncertain future for UK agriculture.

A nightmare scenario, and one we must resist.

Signed by:
· Sir Peter Kendall, former President,
· Lord Plumb DL, former President,
NFU, former President,
European Parliament
· John Shropshire OBE, Chairman,
G’s Fresh, European
farmer and grower
· Rt. Hon. Sir Jim Paice, Farmer,
former Minister for Agriculture
and Food
· Glyn Roberts, President, Farmers’
Union of Wales
· Nigel Miller, former President,
NFU Scotland, Farmer, Scottish
· George Lyon, former President,
NFU Scotland, former MEP, former
Chief Whip and Deputy
Finance Minister, Scottish Government
· Jilly Greed, co-founder, Ladies
in Beef
· Adam Quinney, former Vice
President, NFU, Beef and Sheep
farmer, Warwickshire
· Sir Ian Grant, former President,
NFU Scotland, former Chairman,
The Crown Estate, former
Deputy Chairman, NFU Mutual
· Rosey Dunn, North Carlton
Farm, Chair, NFU North East
Regional Board
· Di Wastenage, South West Dairy
Farmer and Farmers Weekly
Farmer of the Year 2015
· Harry Cotterell OBE, former
President, Country Land and
Business Association and farmer
· Caroline Knox, NFU County
Chair, Isle of Wight
· Peter Chapman, former Vice
President, NFU Scotland, former
Councillor, Aberdeenshire
· Ross Goatham, NFU Chairman,
Swale, Owner, AC Goatham and
Son, Kent
· Simon Bainbridge, Owner,
Bainbridge Farms, Northumberland
· Guy Poskitt, NFU Horticulture
and Potatoes Board Chair, Yorkshire
farmer, Farmers Weekly
Farmer of Year 2012
· Andrew Blenkiron, NFU Chairman,
East Cambs and West Suffolk,
Estate Manager, East
· David Richardson OBE, Norfolk
farmer, Columnist, Farmers
· Adrian Ivory, Farmers Weekly
Young Farmer and Farmer of the
Year 2008
· Greg Bliss, former Chairman,
Tenant Farmers Association,
Cambridgeshire farmer
· Matthew Naylor, Managing
Director, Naylor Flowers Ltd.
· David Christensen, Oxfordshire
dairy farmer and member of the
Board of Representatives, Arla
· James Hook, Managing Director,
P.D. Hook Group, Oxfordshire
· Aled Griffiths, J A & O Griffiths
& Sons, Shropshire
· Ian Pigott, Chairman, Farming
and Countryside Education
(FACE), Hertfordshire arable
· Duncan Worth, CEO, AH Worth
& Company Ltd, Chairman, QV
Foods Ltd.
· Tom Green, Chief Executive,
Spearhead International Ltd.
· Michael Sly, Chairman, English
Mustard Growers Ltd.
· Sarah Dawson, former Chairman,
NFU National Horticulture
& Potato Board, Lincolnshire
vegetable grower
· Ed Salt, Managing Director,
Delamere Dairy, Cheshire
· Charlie Fillingham, Managing
Director, Strutt & Parker Farms
· Stuart Roberts, former Chair,
AHDB Beef and Lamb, Farmer,
· Gwyn Jones, Chairman, European
Platform for Responsible
Use of Medicines in Agriculture
· Carol Ford, Commercial Director,
AC Goatham & Son
· Stephen James, President, NFU
· Minette Batters, Wiltshire
· Mary Quicke MBE, Managing
Director, Quickes Traditional
Ltd, Devon
· Richard Butler, R.J. Butler and
Son, Wiltshire
· Richard Lister, Arable and pig
farmer, Yorkshire
· Richard Beldam, Arable farmer,

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