Two questions for farmers to take advantage of Brexit

Uk agriculture- and fisheries – has been one of the most heavily managed sectors by the EU and one of the most damaged. We have moved from being a net exporter of fish to be a net importer, despite having the best fishing grounds in the EU. We have lost substantial market share in temperate foodstuffs despite having a good climate and soils to grow our own.

As we move to leaving the EU without a Withdrawal Agreement we need to ask what tariffs we should impose on world exports of food to us, including food from the EU. If we simply impose current EU tariff levels on the EU as well when we leave to meet the obligation for common tariffs on our complete worldwide trade, there would be a substantial tariff barrier against items like Danish bacon, French cheese and Irish beef which would give the UK a huge boost to produce more for ourselves. The tariff revenue we collected as our industry adjusts to its ability to displace imports should of course be given back to consumers as tax cuts so we are not worse off.

Does UK agriculture think we should impose the full EU tariffs against the EU, or should we take advantage of putting new tariffs on EU product to lower the overall tariff on world food generally so some of the benefit is given direct to consumers of non EU food? For example, we could remove all tariffs on food we cannot produce for ourselves. Why not abolish the EU 16% tariff on oranges from outside the EU? Some say we should simply impose the full tariffs. Some say we should impose a lower average tariff on temperate food. Either way there will be a boost to domestic output.I will return to the issue of our tariff schedule in a later post, but would like to know your views.

So my second question to UK farmers is what plans are there to step up your output after March 29 2019? How quickly can we grow extra tomatoes, vegetables and the other items that pour in from Spain and the Netherlands at the moment? How much more cheese and yoghurt can you produce to regain market share from the continent? Are there plans to expand beef and pork production when we get the price advantage any new tariffs will bring?

I will be sending a version of this to the NUFU to hear their comments.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.


  1. Iain Gill
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    We need the tax and benefits (and social housing) systems fixing to incentivise using local workers, and reduce cheap foreign workers flooding in.

    My question to the farming sector is what are they doing to recruit people from the jobless parts of the UK, typically the old industrial heartlands with lots of housing near long shut mines, shipyards, and steelworks, and no longer enough jobs for the size of the population?

    What are they doing to train local workers?

    Do they really think its sustainable to keep bringing in masses of cheap foreign workers? Do they really think the British people are going to put up with this indefinitely regardless of how Brexit goes?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      What are the government doing to ensure that the benefit system makes sure that the many unemployed do take work whenever it is available. They will not learn how to work by watching TV all day.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        its more the social housing system, you cannot work away from home for a long period without risking your tenancy, you cannot move easily, if you have kids their school place is dependent on your postcode, so the public sector puts a whole bunch of complications in the way of ordinary people making the best decisions

    • L Jones
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Perhaps we could promote in our students the work ethic of the past – employment as seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers, etc, from June to September, instead of the expectation of an all expenses paid three month holiday courtesy of the Bank of Mum and Dad. A ”Home Grown” labour force.

      • NickC
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        L Jones, It used to be quite common for students to be seasonal workers. I remember friends, particularly if they were studying foreign languages, to go abroad and pick fruit. And foreign students would come here, helping on our farms. And all before we joined the EEC/EU too. My own children did paper rounds (from age 9yrs) then pub/cafe jobs to earn extra cash. Then a lot of silly laws came in preventing children from working and gaining valuable life experience. No wonder we have the pampered snowflake generation whining and unable to cope with setbacks.

        reply Fruit picking in Kentish orchards was one of my summer holiday jobs as a student.

        • L Jones
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          And – what’s more – such fun!

    • Hope
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Off topic, why is May in South Africa after the disgusting behaviour of ousting white farmers from their land and farms without compensation? The UK should be protesting against it not making a visit by head of state. Again, totally out of sink with public opinion. Any aid should be withdrawn immediately. This sort of violent discrimination should not condemned not supported by May.

      After all a couple of months ago she prevented a speaker entering our country to talk about this disgraceful conduct!

      • Timaction
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        She is simply a National embarrassment!

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

        more importantly why is she putting out statements saying she plans to stay PM for the long term? she must realise how crap she has been…

    • Peter
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      If big business will not train locals or pay a wage that will attract them, you can hardly expect smaller family owned farms to do any different. However you are correct that importing foreigners to avoid the issue is not sustainable indefinitely. Businessmen look to the short term mostly.

      There is much talk of entryism to the Conservative party. The party would be glad of the numbers and the £25 per annum. I am not sure new members can effect much change though. After three months there is a possibility of voting on a new leader but it is a simple choice between candidate A or B. New members will have little chance to decide who A or B should be. My local party is very much concerned with local issues and this is reflected in their website. I have voiced my concerns on Brexit to them. I am a single issue man rather than someone that fits into any particular party mindset. All things considered I can put the £25 to better use.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Perhaps this is something the government could look into in regard to Asylum seekers working whilst waiting for their applications to be processed rather than hold them in poor detention type centres, perhaps we should provide farm work and temporary accommodation for them and expect them to earn their keep.

      • Colin
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I’ve never understood why asylum seekers aren’t allowed to work while their applications are being considered, and instead have to be fed and housed at public expense.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Sounds reasonable enough getting Asylum Seekers to do a bit of graft, but how long before somebody started moaning about their human rights, and making the comparison with forced labour camps?

        This is just one of a plethora of reasons why I say the whole damned system needs a complete overhaul. We have allowed ourselves to be controlled by the wrong type of political class who think the same, sound the same, and do the same, in the mistaken belief they are somehow right.

        Clearly, and judging by the results that are visible all around us for everyone to see, what should be fair and orderly is no such thing. These politicians have made an absolute disaster of everything they put their grubby little mits on – the Midas touch in reverse. We don’t just need a change at the top, highly desirable as that may be, it needs to be comprehensive and all-pervasive and reach right down to things like agriculture.

        Farming subsidies are just one factor of a lop-sided system that favours the wrong people, so we must question who and what gave them in their present guise to certain farmers, and for what purpose. And would big agribusinesses be the main beneficiaries of yet more cheap labour or would it be available to all?


    • Richard Barrington
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Iain. I’m sure you’ll be more than happy to relocate to a caravan on minimum wages for temporary seasonal work. Almost no farmers employ FT because they only need labour at set times, its why seasonal pickers are, well seasonal and tour EU for specific harvests.. The jobs that require FT eg milking, very few want to get up at 3am or have the discipline to do that day after day…

      • sm
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        “Very few want to get up at 3am or have the discipline to do that day after day”…you mean like firemen, or nurses, or airline/ship crew, or police, or open round-the-clock shop staff….add your own suggestions here of anyone, in all kinds of jobs, that either must work night shifts or simply carry on until the job is done.

        • 37/6
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Getting up at 2am or 3am is very different to doing a night stint.

          • 37/6
            Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            …I’m doing it all the time. In fact a 1am or 2am start is not worth going to bed for, you just dose up on caffeine and force yourself through it.

      • L Jones
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Seasonal pickers = home grown students.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

          My lads applied to an agency to do student holiday work but were not given any.

          There used to be a van come around and pick up workers but now that work has gone to people who live on site and give part of their wages back as rent.

          Locals cannot and should not compete with that when the state offers them better for doing nothing. The farm ends up subsidised in effect.

        • Jagman84
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          More usually gangmasters, with Eastern European clientele. It gets around the problem of the minimum wage by providing compulsory accommodation at punitive rates . The jobs are never offered to locals. That’s my experience in Lincs.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        Very few would want to support those that don’t want to get up at 3am and so don’t have a job, either…

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Why would “the British People” (all of them?) interfere with what Uk farming business people do? If they do not like the product or find it too expensive, they will not buy and the farmer will do something else or go out of business.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Because they want less immigration, and mostly choose politicians who offer that, the main problem being politicians hardly ever follow through their promises after being elected.

  2. Ian wragg
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Farmers have grown used to subsidies and feel they are entitled. Except for extreme cases they should be gradually abolished. Hill farmers spring to mind.

    • Stred
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      We should apply a tariff on beef and lamb sufficient to protect UK farmers from Argentinian and US imports. US meat should be labelled as hormone injected if it is and NZ as halal if it is.

      Perhaps a zero tariff on dairy until Camembert and Brie dairies here can step up production then raise them. Hill farmers will need subsidies to the downs and moors or turn over to coppice timber for wood burners and lose the views.

      Small dairy farmers will need help to continue and grants for local quality cheeses could help.

      Instead of £100m grants for £57k electric taxis, how about a grant to produce robots to pick fruit and veg.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        If US and Aus beef made more productive through hormone implants is labelled as such then there should be no tariff. The science does not indicate risk and more output is produced for lower feed input. There are some taste/texture issues due to less fat and marbling in meat, but this like what is ethically important is a personal choice. If labelled as hormone treated, and generally source labelled then no tariff should be applied and consumers can make their choice e.g. Some people may now choose to not buy beef from, say e.g. Ireland (or other), as a personal choice.

        • Stred
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Many find permanent injection of hormones into animals quite disgusting, as is transporting Irish cattle by road to be slaughtered in Spain after a 2-3 day journey in hot weather. 4 trucks passed my car near Barcelona with the temperature at 37c. See Ian Dales blog on Spanish slaughter practice.

    • Richard Barrington
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Ian. how many do you know? most farmers are subsistence managing hand to mouth. its why it has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. The recent hot summer has cut yields in 1/2 and while prices will go up not enough.

      The big farms eg Dyson’s suck up most of the cash..

      • Dominic Johnson
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

        You have.unwittingly hit the nail on the head
        The vast majority of uk “farmers” are really small holders.
        Thats just not sustainable, its unfair to expect the toilet cleaner to subside the 200acre sheep farmer and its unfair to block the merger of that sheep farmer in to a sustainable 2000-20,000 acre farm.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          They are business people. If they are not competitive, they go out of business. Unfortunately there are some romantic ideas around farming but it is as hard for a shopkeeper who cannot comoete with Amazon and who cares about him? In general, consumers benefit as long there is enough competition left. Once independent there is aserious risk (given the small market) that many businesses get too much market power and become rent seeking. That would be bad for the economy as a whole. But is inherent to small markets. Just look at bank pricing in the UK compared to the continent.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Richard Barrington

        Dont make me laugh, I know dozen and dozens of farmers. Every single one of them has kids at expensive private schools

        UK farmers have been living on taxpayer subsidies for years.

  3. Student
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    How about we don’t start imposing new tariffs and let the market decide whether agriculture needs to increase?

    • Andy
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Great idea. Because what we need in the countryside is tens of thousands of unemployed ex-farmer workers.

      • Student
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, but you ignore the fact that tariffs never protect jobs for the nation as a whole, and always increase the prices for consumers. Artificially propping up industries with subsidy and tariff protection only prolongs the inevitable. Eventually, stopping the inflow of, cheaper superior goods becomes ever more obviously unsustainable. Then, after a decade or so, protectionists such as yourself become enraged when others discuss the now almost impossible task of stopping the protectionist measures. You would invariably rightly point out that most jobs would be wiped out almost overnight were the unsustainable protectionism to stop, and so it goes on growing and becoming a greater liability.

        It is therefore better to peruse free market competition rather than propping up industries at the cost of the consumer. Ultimately everyone will be better off, as has been shown time and time again over the past 100 years.

      • L Jones
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Sarcasm, Andy? A little beyond your pay grade, I think.
        Would these tens of thousands of unemployed ex-farmer(sic) workers soon be pensioners, do you think, another burden on the State? We should be told. (Just giving you an opening there….)

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        They could replace EU nurses in the NHS

        • libertarian
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink


          Any idea how many EU nurses are employed by NHS ( hint, i have and its not what you think) ?

      • libertarian
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink


        UK farm workers ( including the farmers themselves and includes family members who may be unpaid )



        139,200 of these are non UK workers on seasonal casual contracts ( not including workers from Ireland)

        Oh and there are as I think i may have mentioned a few times there are currently 829,000 unfilled jobs

    • acorn
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Ah! the “Singapore Option”. OK if you have no domestic production to protect. That is, no indigenous unskilled population to keep employed and voting for you.

      And; you can import circa a million semi and unskilled foreign workers, to build your City State for you; while they live in little better than cardboard boxes and get paid circa an eighth of the average Singaporean.

      “let the market decide”, my arse!

  4. Richard1
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    I hope we will contemplate complete abolition of all tariffs as proposed by Prof Minford et al. All experience of countries which have pursued unilateral free trade – Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand etc, – is extremely positive. As a former NZ finance minister said, tariffs are “rocks in your own harbour”. One of the very positive aspects of the generally fraught public debate on Brexit is there is now much higher public awareness of trade policy issues, which for the last 40yeats have been outsourced to the EU. Polling suggests that U.K. voters remain strongly pro free trade – as has clearly been the case whenever the issue has been tested for at least two centuries. It’s a great unifying – and free market – policy. At the very least let’s get rid of all tariffs on anything not produced in the U.K. in large volume.

    On this subject let’s also resign agricultural subsidies, so they are paid as they are in Switzerland explicitly to keep the countryside beautiful and not for overproduction of particular foodstuffs. Assuming we can avoid Mrs Mays disasterous regualtory alignment policy, Let’s also reverse the EUs unscientific ban on GM crops so the countryside doesn’t have to be drenched as now in pesticides which kill wild flowers and are a health hazard.

    • Richard1
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

      Re-design agricultural subsidies

  5. eeyore
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Good questions from our host. In the responses he will receive there will doubtless be some complaining against further “feather-bedding” of “fat-cat” farmers, with cutting observations on Range Rovers and massive subsidies.

    I hope people will remember that most farmers run small family businesses, often without employees and with little scope for further efficiencies. Their work is onerous and dangerous, their worries and hardships incessant, their rewards tiny. For many the minimum wage would be riches. They maintain the landscape in the most beautiful parts of the country. They deserve the nation’s help.

    • DUNCAN
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      I totally agree and I’m not a farmer.

      My heart goes out to all UK based small business operators who are treated with total contempt by a political class obsessed with pandering to the epitome of feather-bedding that is the public sector

      The political class today lacks courage and so they’ll only attack those that can’t fight back

      British farmers are part of our our history and our heritage

      Keep up the good work

    • Martyn G
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      I agree, eeyore, re the many small family farms. On the other hand, there is the matter of the (usually) landed gentry who own large estates and farms being bunged huge sums of money each year for setting aside chunks of their land.
      I wonder if anyone knows the total area of land set aside for cash, and what impact it has on the loss of produce grown in this country?

      • acorn
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        The Set-aside Scheme was abolished in November 2008. It was replaced in the UK as the Habitat Scheme with multiple variations since. Basically the Westminster land Barrons, still got a very nice little earner.

      • margaret howard
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        These ‘chunks of land’ are wildlife havens. Farmers had turned regions like East Anglia into a prairie before the EU stepped in and these narrow strips were created to protect the few wild things that survived this vandalism.

        Hedges were ripped out and huge fields created to enable monster machines to operate. The earth was saturated with now banned chemicals to kill off all living organism and birds disappeared for lack of insects.

        No doubt these greedy individuals will now plough these ‘chunks of land’ up again and turn our countryside back into a monoculture. Greed rules again.

      • eeyore
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        There’s a trend to move subsidies from production to environment, of which set-aside is part. But these things change with circumstances. JR’s post points toward a refocusing on production post-Brexit.

        Twenty-five years ago production was king and farmers were subsidised to grub out hedges. A decade later environment reigned and they were subsidised to put them back again. I hope things are better managed this time.

    • Norman
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      Most are woefully ignorant of the huge challenges in growing food, much of it from small family businesses.
      Having said this, farmers have been ‘bought’ by EU subsidies (though not all sectors receive them), and the supporting industries, E.g. machinery manufacturers, would be hit without some careful transitional help to farming. Just as with fishing, it would take a few years to tool-up.
      Finally, recruitment of labour is now extremely difficult – a reflection on our own urbanized benefits culture and education system. To our shame, the East Europeans are of a different mind-set, know how to do it, and are prepared to work hard. No doubt they are so grateful to escape their communist past, and have opportunity to better themselves. This ‘bonus’ is beginning to wane, however.

      • NickC
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Norman, People are different. Some people love outdoor work, some don’t. We have plenty of people for the needs of the economy in the normal variety of human dispositions.

        Many employers whinge that “we can’t get the staff” – engineering being one example. But step back and think about it – we have had massive redundancies in manufacturing all through the last 50 years – where have these people gone? They are probably doing mundane office jobs and just need minor skill updating. But no, it’s easier to lobby politicians like Vince Cable to moan we haven’t got enough engineers.

        • Norman
          Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

          Nick, also a-tracy: I respect your view, but its all about infrastructure. And I include in this, the inherent knowledge and aptitude that builds up over generations.
          Forget Country File – like so much modern journalism, its not much more than entertainment. The realities are much harder to come by. I would suggest interviewing the young people at a good Agricultural College in the Western half of the country, to see what really makes family farms with livestock and arable tick. Even then, good stock-people are often shy and feel their vocation isn’t seen as ‘cool’ to outsiders. Yet today, these folk are highly skilled, as well as exceptionally hardworking.
          In my former role as a govt vet, I sought to give much needed encouragement, which was a great privilege.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        There are 212,000 farm holdings in UK, highest concentration being in East Anglia and the South West

        Farming is subsidised, with subsidies to farmers totalling £3.19 billion in 2010

        60% of farms have more than 30 hectares producing £9.9 billion of income

    • Alan Jutson
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink


      Tend to agree.

      Like most things in life it is all about getting the balance right, we should not allow imports to be completely free of tariffs if our own farmers cannot compete on price with them, because of their own high husbandry standards imposed by our own government, when some imports have far lower producing costs because of lower imposed production standards in their own Country.

      I would guess most of the UK public would like food prices to be lower, but with sensible quality standards, many of course will happily pay more for better quality food.

      Will be interesting to hear what the NFU suggest.

    • a-tracy
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I’d love to watch a program about current UK farming and where the small family holdings are mainly? Who owns the land? Who owns the property? What collectives there are, who owns vast swathes of farms that are paid to do nothing with the land?

      I keep seeing farms going and lots of caravans moving in so perhaps the farmers are proving temporary homes for their workers now? A proper investigative journalism piece, there are some very wealthy farmers around too, on excellent land that have created vibrant businesses out of their land acumen and perhaps it would help others without as much business savvy to see how they can make more from their holding.

  6. Nig l
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    As we see with EU agriculture tariff bariers encourage inefficiency. My question is if we protect uk agriculture with tariffs how can you assure us that we will be getting our food at the cheapest price?

    It seems to me that a tariff free system, with built in protections for dumping/subsidised output is the way forward. Would not being close to the market, therefore less cost of transport be a sufficient advantage with our Agro sciences ensuring we are in the forefront of yield etc technology.

    Obviously this will not happen because the Tory party in the Shires needs farming support so one way or another I will continue to be forced to contribute.

    One aspect would find favour, namely now setting up a soft loans system to enable them to invest in increased production. Unfortunately the Chequers Agreement would not allow it.

  7. oldtimer
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Good questions. On tropical, non temperate foods I see no reason for tariffs. On temperate foods we can and do produce I would want to know the capacity of the farming industry to meet UK food needs and how quickly it can increase it. Manpower, the weather, science and technology are all relevant to the answer – especially the science and technology. I believe there is a clear national interest in producing a large share of the foods we need but using as advanced methods as can devised. Tax incentives of some kind are more likely to work better than tariffs or subsidies in achieving this aim.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Cheaper energy (and water) is very important in producing more food in colder climates. So cut the green crap energy market distortions too and cut sort out better competition and less interference in water supply.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        L/L. Yes indeed. Whilst some farmers are making a fortune out of hosting wind turbines, others are not able to and are paying the price as are we all. Today, Scottish Gas (Spanish owned) is saying that prices are having to rise to pay for switching off wind turbines and the subsidies for renewable energy. None of it makes any sense. We all pay in the end.

    • Richard Barrington
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Tax incentives only work if you are paying tax and most small farmers aren’t. we currently don’t have tariffs on most food produced in Africa, Europe and any of the locations we have FTA’s with, however as they’re all voided March 2019, and most are talking about wanting to renegotiate ( as we’re a distressed purchase why wouldn’t they? ) it will be years before we can trade with anyone.

      • NickC
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Richard Barrington, What a load of tosh. The EU doesn’t have fully operational comprehensive trade deals with any country bar a few minor ones like the Pitcairn Islands. The vaunted Canada and S.Korea deals will take another decade to implement, and the recently signed Japan deal is just that – signed, and no more. Moreover the MRAs and FTAs are minor modifications of the comprehensive WTO trading system which covers 98% of global trade. So of course we will continue to trade with the rest of the world.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        There are still plenty of tariffs against imports from African countries. To give some examples, consider the tariffs that the UK is obliged to apply to imports from Nigeria (as indeed are France, Germany and every EU member state). These include, among others:

        15% tariffs on live animals
        26% on meat and edible meat offal
        31% on dairy produce, birds’ eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin not elsewhere specified or included
        12% on edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
        18% on products of the milling industry; malt; starches; inulin; wheat gluten
        23% on preparations of fish and meat, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates
        28% on sugars and sugar confectionery
        18% on preparations of vegetables, fruit, nuts or other parts of plants
        19% on tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes

        From here –

  8. Annette
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    Keeping EU tariffs worldwide so that they can be applied to EU foodstuffs is really cutting of our nose to spite our face. We should cut all tariffs on produce that we do not, or are unlikely to (thinking of new growth areas like wine), produce ourselves.
    One example could be coffee. Under current EU regs, raw coffee beans are zero-rated but the processed version, which adds the value, is not. The prohibitive ‘processed’ cost means that coffee growers in Africa just export raw beans to Germany (who’d have guessed) where it is then processed & sold, taking the majority of the profit. Removing the EU ‘processed’ tariff would allow African coffee bean growers to expand their businesses locally to produce final product & adding value, thus helping their own economies & we would have increased sources to import from.

  9. Richard1
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    A representative of Japanese industry in the U.K. is expressing understandable frustration at the unclarity and lack of direction of the U.K. Govt. On Brexit. He should of course also be directing fire at the EU who are refusing for tactical reasons to discuss trade until they have extracted major concessions from Mrs May like the leaving present.

    But perhaps the Govt needs to engage with this group of businesses in a respectful but robust way. For example, the Japanese industrialists urge the U.K. to stay in the customs union. It might be in the interest of some businesses, other things being equal, for the U.K. to remain in the customs union. But it is not in the interest of the U.K. – as has now been made clear by all the debate. There is no coherent defence of it. The customs union means locking in a significant trade deficit with the EU, high prices for consumers, and precludes an independent trade policy. Presumably these Japanese companies are not urging a similar policy for Japan. But what is needed, and is very lacking, is leadership from the Govt on the benefits of Brexit – the lower cost that free trade will bring, the new market access, the more rational regulatory regime, and of course lower taxes. The Govt needs to explain to the Country and to those who migh be concerned about the customs union, that the overall benefits of leaving are overwhelming. Get on the front foot!

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    We should get government interference, most taxation and all subsidies out of agriculture & fishing (and indeed energy) as far as possible. Let these industries do only the things that make economic sense (without such subsidy) or get out and do something else. CAP and the EU common fishery policy have both (entirely predictably) been complete and utter disasters. As indeed has the EU’s idiotic climate and energy policy and its religious belief and endless pushing of climate alarmism.

    Cut free of all of it and do not try to replicate in any way. Farmer should generally respond to willing paying customers not government diktats and tax payer subsidies.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      ” EU common fishery policy have both (entirely predictably) been complete and utter disasters.”


      Without it there would be no cod left today.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Complete nonsense
        Their “throw it back” policy was a disaster.

  11. Dave Andrews
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    For a start, we should apply UK food standards to the EU, which we currently can’t do because of free market rules. UK farmers should not be at a competitive disadvantage because continental producers can economise on animal welfare.

  12. Mark B
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    All farmers are interested in is their subsidies. They will still get them after we, supposedly, leave.

    Tariffs are paid by the consumer. We should seek to remove ALL tariffs on goods and create as a competitive market as we can. This will drive down prices, inflation and increase consumer spending and market confidence.

    • L Jones
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      If it drives down prices, then surely the farmers and their families will benefit too? They’re not ONLY farmers – they are also consumers.

    • mickc
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      And let’s also remove planning restrictions, a severe distortion of the land market, so farmers fan supply the land needed for residentitled development….

    • Dave , Spencers Wood
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Why are we looking to subsidise farmers at all? I thought the Conservative party was the party of the free market. Or is it just the party of the vested interest group? Another philosophical question for our host – what makes one industry worthy of subsidy when another isn’t?

      If you are looking to us subsidise home produced food then you need to make it clear exactly where the money is going and who benefits. Those of us on lower incomes spend proportionally more of our income on food. Any tariff is a highly regressive tax. My concern is all that will happen is that I’ll continue to subsidise wealthy large landowners just as the money we pay towards the CAP does now.

      And if you are concerned about the EU “dumping” food on us, if the EU wants to sell us dairy and meat products at below cost price, more fool them.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    We could start by making sure that more of each farmer’s harvest actually reaches the shops or other parts of the food chain. Not just the good looking stuff.

    With over 50% of the yield being junked, imagine the cost savings for consumers and the additional profit for producers. Win win

    • Dominic Johnson
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      The cost saving will be minimal
      The cost of potatoes “at the farm gate” is minimal
      The cost at the supermarket is primarily added after that, transport and retail.

      Theres no point transporting ugly veg

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 12:22 am | Permalink

        The yield will increase and subsidies can decrease. As for the price at the farm gates, a large retailer tells me “every little helps”

    • Ian wragg
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      We should also stop producing cereals to convert to Ethanol which is stupid when we need the food.
      Another bonkers green initiative. Expensive, unnecessary and wasteful.
      No doubt another EU directive.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Ian, quite right. A farmer near us has a biomass plant. Under his contract he has to keep the thing filled at all times. He has had to employ someone to drive around trying to find cereals, wood etc to keep it filled. In the meantime other farmers are saying that the animal feed they give to their cows etc has become hard to get and more expensive. Who did think it was a good idea to burn crops??

      • Stred
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

        And biodiesel.

  14. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Without any special or preferential trade deal with the EU, which in my view would not even be worth the time and trouble and risk of negotiation with the EU:

    we will be required to apply the same tariffs to imports from the EU as we apply to imports from other WTO members in the same “no deal”, that is “no trade deal” position.

    Within that general constraint we would be free to set the tariff of each class of import as we see fit anywhere in the range from zero to the maximum that we have registered in our WTO schedule.

    It is simply not true that we would be compelled to set the maximum tariffs as stated in the schedule, or the same tariffs as the EU sets, as explained by Martin Howe QC only last week, here:

    “Over the past couple of weeks, the media have been full of lurid scare stories about what will happen if the UK leaves the EU on WTO terms. One report was that “No deal will hike food bills by 12%”. Apparently, ‘senior executives from the big four supermarkets’ had claimed that with a ‘no deal’ Brexit ‘the biggest tariffs on imports from the EU could include cheese, up by 44%, beef, up by 40%, and chicken, up 22%’.

    I shall call this “the tariff delusion:” that when we leave the EU, WTO rules will require the UK to keep the EU’s current tariffs and impose them on imports from the EU, as well from the rest of the world.

    That delusion is simply not true. The UK will adopt the EU’s current tariff schedules at the WTO, but these specify the maximum level of tariffs.

    We will be fully free to charge lower tariffs or zero tariffs, if we feel fit; but whatever tariffs we decide to charge must be applied equally to imports from the EU and the rest of the world under the “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN) principle.”

    Personally my first step would be to adjust all the tariffs to yield much the same total customs duties as now, with new duties being taken on imports from the EU which at present are all duty-free, but at lower rates than the EU Common External Tariff, and duties on imports from outside of the EU being cut by the same total amount.

  15. paulW
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Well soon enough we’ll know who the real farmers are

  16. George Dunnett
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Our friends at the BOE are always banging on about a lack of productivity in Britain, well what did you think would happen if you rely on cheap imported labour!

    With less foreign works in the field the farmers are going to have to invest in productivity and start buying machines that can replace the human pickers. Necessity is the mother of invention just like they did 100 years ago.

  17. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    And let’s bring lost land back into productive use. Far too much has been removed through tree planting and ‘set side’ type schemes. A large area of a good level field near the place I live was planted last year, yet another acreage out of food production. I wonder how many millions of acres have suffered the same fate around England in recent years. Has that policy been EU driven?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Prang. Just come back from Shropshire and was horrified to see how much farm land is being built on. Anything from old farms to small paddocks. Goodness knows where we are going to get our food from in the future. I see the boats are still arriving with illegal immigrants in Spain and Italy. No doubt many will make it here. Is it any wonder our green fields are being built on at such an alarming rate?

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      The Prangwizard, Yes, we should ensure that waterlogged land (eg in Somerset) is properly drained, overturning the absurd green crap return to nature fashion. It would also mean that EU laws about dredged river material being toxic are thrown out. Then we could begin reclaiming land from the sea, to expand food production, as well.

      • Stred
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        The Chinese use bottles sent from Europe to be recycled to build islands in the South China Sea. We could use them for raising land instead of giving in back to nature as planned by the Environment Agency green priests.

  18. Newmania
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    There is a snowball`s chance in Hades of tax cuts with UK debt as high as it is and with all the expense of Brexit to pay for as well , overall tax is now higher than it has been in decades.
    Up until now we have been told that the nasty EU made us pay 20% over the odds of food and that there would be bonanza for consumers when new accessed cheap work markets
    It was always a lie and this Maoist fantasy whereby the government tells “Farming” to do more of this or less of that is another one
    Agriculture is not uniquely protected by the EU it is protected worldwide and often subsidised , it is also just about the only protected sector we have to trade in all these(fictional) trade deals we are going to do …..

    Oh dear not as simple as you pretended is it and I think we can all guess who will be paying in the end

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, Since when did Remain change from insisting that the EU didn’t run us, to insisting that the EU runs us so completely that we can hardly leave? Remain hypocites? Well, who’da thunk it . . . .

    • L Jones
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Brexit isn’t all about your bank balance though, is it? It’s about the country’s independence and if that comes at a price initially, then surely it’s worth it?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      And the EU is going so swimmingly too. Dang !

      (The Far Right on the march in East Germany and elsewhere.)

  19. Adam
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Having the freedom to choose without the EU imposing its distorted controls enables us to do what is best for our own people. Our farmers’ opinions should guide our decisions in different product fields. Some may need time to increase their productive capability; others may be instantly ready. Overall, the UK shall be fitter for purpose if we increase our ability to compete worldwide instead of using tariffs to shield any lower performers from the attractive output of the best. Our consumers are the ultimate decision takers.

  20. Caterpillar
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Protection/subsidy of farming for security issues and for the landscape that has a spillover into tourist industry, otherwise why have any protectionism?

    (Recently been buying fruit and veg from UK suppliers and from Chile, Peru, Zimbabwe amongst others. Have not bought from EU21 recently as the produce has looked lower quality and not cheaper. Looking forward to removal of food tariffs and the knock on benefits for the world.)

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Caterpillar, I first noticed that very little supermarket produce was from the EU around January this year. I now aim to avoid any any EU stuff at every shop. Many other people seem to be resisting EU products too. I hope the corrupt, vindictive EU is beginning to realise its behaviour is counterproductive. We can vote with our wallets.

      • L Jones
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

        I’ve noticed that too. Often EU stuff has been marked down, while the UK stuff seems to fly off the shelves. I wonder why?
        (I don’t, really.)

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink


    • margaret howard
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Zimbabwe rather than EU? The country that under the dictator Mugabe has expelled and even murdered British farmers to ‘right’ the injustices perpetrated when it was a British colony and called Rhodesia?

      • L Jones
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Clutching at straws, Margaret? It’s not either one or the other. Perhaps you should go and read a little more.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Zimbabwe is indeed a producer of veg in UK shops. Hopefully the flow of earnings back to Zimbabwe will help it develop away from some of its history. We will see whether it continues to produce after the recent election vote rigging cases. Hopefully it will move forward.

      • Prigger
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 6:27 am | Permalink

        @Margaret Howard.
        “European Union Delegation to the Republic of Zimbabwe”
        “Contrary to popular belief, the EU has never imposed what is often described as ‘trade sanctions’ on Zimbabwe. Even during the period of the appropriate measures, Zimbabwe continued to benefit from the preferential access to the EU market provided under the Cotonou Agreement.”
        Straight from the horse’s mouth!

  21. Original Richard
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Hopefully Brexit will bring about changes in attitude which will reduce our £80bn/year trading deficit with the EU.

    For instance, the CEO of the UK Food & Drink Federation (“representing the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector”) said on the BBC’s Brexitcast episode of 27/04/2018 :

    “Our consumers and shoppers in the UK are now used to the most fantastic array of choice at all price points and telling them that they have to get their Brie from Somerset rather than from France is not going to be something I would want to do.”

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Original Richard, Then that CEO is a pompous twerp. I, and many others, are consciously avoiding EU produce. If you look around there are plenty of alternatives – I now buy food from the USA, India, Kenya, Peru, Senegal, Egypt, S.Africa, Brazil, and of course from the UK.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      This guy (ex-corporate relations director at Diageo) evidently can’t be doing much shopping for himself. Otherwise surely he’d notice just how tasteless is the French brie on sale in UK supermarkets (certainly compared with what can be found in a decent French food market). And he’d also know that a) Somerset Brie is an excellent product b) with the extraordinary range of English and Welsh soft cheeses on the market (cow’s, goat’s, sheepsmilk) nobody needs to buy a bland brie at all, from anywhere.

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      I thought Brexit voters were supposed to eat nothing but burgers and chips.

      Remainers are supposed to like Brie but they lost the vote – so hard cheese it is then.

  22. simon
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    An interesting option imposing tariffs on temperate foods but not on other types of food stuff we cannot produce.
    A more interesting option may be to have zero tariffs, this would encourage mechanisation and increase efficiency on the part of our farmers (much along the lines of what happened to the New Zealand farming industry when they were forced out of preferential trade with the UK).
    I believe that the market garden/temperate food industry in the UK and particularly in the South East used to be a world leader in quality, quantity and technology. These advantages have almost disappeared with by the advent of produce from the Netherlands and Spain. It can be so again and this time will have the advantage of restarting with the best available technology, rather than adapting old technology as has so often been the case in the UK. If this happens, Quality and economics will be on the side of the UK producers so we can safely let the market decide!
    Fishing is a little more complex as I understand that most of the UK fishing fleet is now EU owned!

  23. agricola
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    This is a very complex subject. I will just deal with items we cannot grow at home economically. For such I see no reason to apply tariffs. For instance oranges are available fresh from Spain, December to February; USA’ January to April; South Africa, March to May; Israel, they claim all the year round, but there must be a time when they are at their best. Outside the EU we have a much wider choice to source from.

    It may be necessary to provide tariff protection for some of the items we can produce ourselves. Some items may require seasonal protection, asparagus for instance.

    Fishing has the opportunity to become a much bigger export industry. The UK population having a very limited idea of what it can eat from the sea. Last Friday night in Segovia three of us kicked of with Scallops, Mussels, Percebes (Barnacles), followed by Sea Bass, Cod, Turbot. This is where our market will be for an expanded fishing industry. Are government planning money rates to expand our fleet , shore facilities to handle the catch, conservation measures that make sense, and a greatly expanded fishery protection facility within the Royal Navy.

    You are right to discuss it with the NFU and individual producers, because it has the complexity of a musical score.

    • agricola
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink


  24. Original Richard
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    After Brexit UK industry and farmers need to be encouraged to develop further mechanisation, particularly AI crop picking.

    In the meantime, the government should return to seasonal agricultural workers permits to provide the temporary crop picking labour needed.

  25. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Do you realise that the Norwegians, Icelanders and the people of Liechtenstein are not necessarily in the CAP?
    If we remain in the EEA (not the single market please that is run by the EU and forms just one column of the EEA) after 30/3/19 then we can choose whether or not to remain in the CAP.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, we do realise that … it isn’t going to happen, not when the EEA requires the same kind of unfettered freedom of movement of persons as the EU does.

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard, The EEA is largely run by the EU. The Norwegians, etc, have effectively no real power to control the EEA as they would control their own market. The EEA was a half-way house – a stand-off between their EU loving establishment and their independence minded people. As such the EEA is a Remain trap.

      • DanB
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        Nick it isn’t..the norweigans can decamp from the EEA overnight if they so wish..and no need to trigger an A50

        • NickC
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          DanB, Yes they can de-camp. But that’s not the same as having direct control. EEA rules are EU single market rules for the fairly obvious reason that all members of the EU are in the EEA.

    • acorn
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      The UK could not remain a member State of the EEA after Brexit, because it will automatically cease to be an EEA member on leaving the EU. You can’t join the EEA unless you join EFTA first.

      Neither EFTA or the EEA is thrilled about getting an application form from the UK. Neither the EU, nor its current 28 member States, are members of EFTA.

      • L Jones
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink


  26. gregory martin
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I am not a farmer but am related to a fair few. They will tell you, (and anybody who will listen) that there are no plans. The relevent Dept, known colloquilly as ” Department Eliminating Farming ,Rural Activities, DEFRA, seems to be only concerned with the environment, happily overseeing the growth of thistles and other ‘habitat’. The biggest problem they face is the near monopoly in supermarket purchasing through only a few , mainly Irish owned, processors. This restricts the prices they receive, to a level within a whisker of cost of production. Even the largest arable producers , who have enormous cashflow but little retainable return for the capital value of their holdings, struggle with the lower prices of world production.
    Most vulnerable are the hill farmers, who have land fit only for sheep, and sometimes cattle. They depend on the demand from Europe for sheep meat and are at serious risk.
    They do provide and maintain the spectacular upland scenery of Wales, Scotland ,Cumbria, etc upon which our tourist industry, inturn , depends.
    A serious, targetted, Buy British campaign should be a priority to all patriots. Never has the need been greater. What happens in Westminster is a mere sideshow compared with the real act beyond.

  27. sm
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    As far as I have understood it over the years, agricultural subsidies are extremely complex to deal with and appear to largely benefit the big landowners rather than the smaller farming businesses. Surely the State should be assisting the latter both to train and retain farm workers, and to help the country to become as self-sufficient in food as is reasonably possible.

    I also think that since the best way to help 3rd world countries is not by dishing out vast sums (that all too frequently end up solely benefiting off-shore trusts etc) but by encouraging purchase of their produce, which low import tariffs would surely encourage.

  28. William Long
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I shall be very interested indeed in the answer you get from the NUFU. The impresssion I get from the CLA, of which I am a member, is that the main concern of farmers is about maintaining the current level of subsidy; improving production to meet increased demand does not figure greatly in their thinking, possibly, it must be said, because they have little confidence that demand will in fact increase.
    My view on tarrifs is that basic foodstuffs should be made as cheap as possible and there is certainly no call for tarrifs on food we cannot produce ourselves.

  29. James K-L
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    You should aim to lower tariffs and quotas as much as possible to reduce food prices for consumers. Whilst maintaining a balance, as it is not in anyone’s interest to put our farmers out of business! Accept that this will involve substantial adjustments to the industry.

    You can make agriculture more competitive by simplifying regulations to give farmers the space to innovate and thrive, including allowing them to develop more non farming income. Retain subsidies, but redirect the money to help them diversify to new market focused opportunities.

    For tariffs and quotas, you should remove them on everything we don’t produce. For the things we do, in the first instance reduce them to maintain prices at current levels. Provide targeted support to exporting sectors like lamb and shellfish impacted by EU tariffs, for example support in finding new markets and reducing their costs.

    In the longer term move the industry to world prices where we grow the food best suited to our climate whilst maintaining food security, not the status quo.

  30. oldwulf
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    “The tariff revenue we collected as our industry adjusts to its ability to displace imports should of course be given back to consumers as tax cuts so we are no worse off” …..

    What tax cuts, how much and to whom ?

    My thought is that, instead, we should directly assist the producers, maybe for an initial period of a few years, so they can cope with additional labour, capital and other costs. The aim is to ensure that the right produce is available in sufficient quantities at the right price, as quickly as possible.

  31. ale bro
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    A lot of the profits in the farming industry are based on the importation of cheap seasonal labour.

    If this industry cannot recruit a UK workforce, it’s future is limited.

    Far better to grow the food in places where labour is cheap, than to import cheap labour once a year to pick fruit.

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Somewhat off-topic:

    “France starts planning for no-deal Brexit”

    “French prime minister Edouard Philippe instructed his ministers on Monday to prepare measures in case of a no-deal Brexit, including measures to facilitate the stay of British citizens in France and ensuring smooth border controls. The government will ask parliament in the coming weeks to allow it to adopt the contingency plans by decree, a statement said. The UK is due to leave the European Union in March 2019.”

    I struggle to see any sense in the UK and France both having to fall back on unilateral measures to keep the wheels turning because of the legalistic obduracy of the EU, and/or the absurd and extreme intransigence of the new Irish government backed up by the EU, making it impossible for any deal to be made on a bilateral or multilateral basis.

  33. Rien Huizer
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    Are you suggesting that the government have not been consulting with farmers regarding these issues and that they have no idea of what supply responses, if any, the UK farmers could give to one or more new trade barrier scenarios as associated with various
    types of Brexit. It is also a matter of what sort of supply responses can be expected from abroad. For instance, US negotiators looking at a UKUSFTA would not intend to make an exception to existing US policies regarding certain agricultural and processing technologies which the EU (and many non-EU) countries do not allow.

    Indeed, having to cope with EU external barriers re fishing and agriculture as a fully third country should create a supply response, but under WTO rules that response might well stay with food importing supermarkets and food processors because farm,ers would find it very difficult to compete with, say New Zealind Kiwi growers (not that they would have the climate, but in order to avoid less hypothetical and omre controversial examples).

    I am sure there has been extensive modeling already but that the results are very diverse and in partially too ambiguous.

    Asking farmers (and non-farmers) who follow this blog (no doubt heavily biased pro-brexit) will give a predictable result: brexit will be great..

  34. Sakara Gold
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that it’s going to take years to build up a trawler fleet to harvest our own fish in our own waters again; I can recall seeing numbers of brand-new but rusting trawlers laid up in Hull when at university there following the Icelandic cod wars. We will in all probability have to continue to import our own fish from Spanish and Danish trawalers for years to come.

    Similarly, to reduce EU food imports our farmers will have to invest heavily in tractors, harvesting equipment and food processing. To persuade British workers to take jobs in the agricultural sector wages will have to rise; currently the skills required are with Bulgarian, Polish and other eastern EU workers living in caravans on our farms.

    Clearly neither the government, the Brexiteers or your good self have thought this through and though I dare say American growers would like to export Florida oranges to us to replace the ones we import from Spain, inevitably the supermarkets will exploit the situation to raise food prices.

    On a more positive note, the pragmatic M Macron of France has instructed his government to prepare measure to facilitate the presence of Brits already living in France and to ensure “fluid” border controls after we crash out. The French PM, M Philippe said yesterday that “contingency measures” would seek to mitigate the difficulties linked to this “unprecedented challenge”. Clearly, the French do not want lorries full of Camembert or Beaujolais stacking up at Calais any more than we do.

    I think a sensible precaution might be to stock up on some tinned neccesities such as salmon, corned beef, tuna, stewed beef, fruit, flour, rice etc before the public wakes up to this issue and starts panic buying; however I suspect that ultimately, we will muddle through.

    Reply Food supply will be just fine.

  35. John Finn
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    So my second question to UK farmers is what plans are there to step up your output after March 29 2019?

    This is something that should have been addressed 2 years ago. We keep hearing how we’re only 60% self sufficient in food but that doesn’t tell us what our potential is to produce more. There must be a lot of the same or very similar products transported backwards and forwards between the EU and UK. I haven’t actually bought any food produced in the EU for at least 5 months – and that’s not a deliberate act. We have locally sourced, dry-cured British bacon, British vegetables, tomatoes and meat.

    I like a banana with porridge but our bananas normally come from South or Central America. Amazingly, they still manage to be delivered regularly to our local greengrocer despite coming from outside the EU.

    My feeling is that, once we have the necessary information from UK producers, we should kick off with as tough a tariff regime as possible (we can always relax it later). This will provide more incentive for countries to negotiate mutually beneficial arrangements. Obviously, though, there’s no point is putting tariffs on food we can’t produce but at least we can provide a level playing field for all countries (EU and non-EU), e.g. Zero tariffs on oranges will apply to Israel and South Africa as well as Spain.

  36. Bob
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    …..President Trump is expressing concern over the violent land seizures against white South Africans Theresa May visits the country and stays silent.

    Do the Tories have no shame?

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      She did a moronic dance though.

      What an embarassment that woman is.

    • Chris
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      A very good point, Bob, that needs making. President Trump scores again. He puts our PM to shame.

  37. acorn
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    The moment the UK starts importing South African (SA) Oranges instead of EU Club Med Oranges, WTO members will come down on the UK like a tonne of Bricks. (There is an new EU-SA EPA for oranges)

    You really should read some of the evidence to the Select Committee. This WTO thing is a lot more complex than Brexiteers think it is. The first five pages, the rest are TRQ schedules.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      I see nothing there to say that WTO members will come down on us like a tonne of bricks if we dare to import oranges from South Africa. Which WTO members, and on what grounds, and why haven’t they already come down on us like a tonne of bricks over the years we’ve already been importing oranges from South Africa?

      • acorn
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Because we have been a member of the EU, the largest and most influential trading bloc on the planet.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

          You said:

          “The moment the UK starts importing South African (SA) Oranges instead of EU Club Med Oranges, WTO members will come down on the UK like a tonne of Bricks.”


          “The moment the UK starts importing South African (SA) Oranges once it has left the EU, WTO members will come down on the UK like a tonne of Bricks.”

          So little of what you say makes any sense.

        • NickC
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          Acorn, Not the largest – China is. The EU and USA are almost neck and neck at 2nd and 3rd. So the when we’ve left, the EU will drop to 3rd. Influential? – you’ve got to be kidding – no other bloc has copied it.

          • margaret howard
            Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

            Both China and the USA are countries, not trading blocs.

            Facts and figures on the EU’s position in global markets

            Source: Eurostat

            The EU is the largest economy in the world with a GDP per head of €25 000 for its 500 million consumers.

            The EU is the world’s largest trading block.

            The EU is the world’s largest trader of manufactured goods and services.

            The EU ranks first in both inbound and outbound international investments

            The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries. By comparison the US is the top trading partner for a little over 20 countries.

            The EU is the most open to developing countries. Fuels excluded, the EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together.

            Reply Yes – and we will carry on buying their products after we have left, as in our case the trading partner is more supplier than customer!

    • Bob
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      If SA goes the route of Mugabe with land expropriation they won’t have any oranges to export.

      Whoever sets the Captcha matching criteria doesn’t know the difference between a bus and a tram.

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, Once we are independent of the EU what has the EU-SA EPA got to do with us? You Remains love to make out difficulties as being insuperable – ‘we can’t do it on our own, we need the EU to hold our hand’, you wail. If other countries want to sell in our market they will have to learn to be nice to us. I know that is a foreign concept to the bossy EU and its Remain sycophants.

      • acorn
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        Brave words. Imagine what the voters will think when there are empty spaces on Supermarket shelves. My sign on that shelf would say, “Product currently unavailable due to Brexit”.

        • Edward2
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

          So now acorn you predict the EU will blockade ports, ban the 27 from selling to the UK and stop our planes and ships as they bring in food.
          You extreme Remainers are getting hysterical now.
          In both senses of the word.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            No, that cannot be the case, remember we had it explained that only Brexiteers have been talking about blockades …

          • acorn
            Posted August 29, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

            I think you are the one who is paranoid, not me! I did not mention blockades or banning anything. Remainers don’t need “project fear”, your state of perpetual victim-hood, does the job for them.

          • NickC
            Posted August 29, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            Acorn, Edward2 is correct, you specifically mentioned “empty spaces on Supermarket shelves”.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      “some MFN tariffs may still face negotiations if other countries (such as South Africa) question the UK’s need to continue with the EU’s complex tariffs protecting certain producers (such as Mediterranean orange producers).”

      But that’s only if we were idiotic enough to lock ourselves into continuing with the EU’s complex and protectionist tariffs for its own Med producers.

      The point about no-deal is that we would not be doing so.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink


      Oh do give it a rest, you haven’t got a clue what you are talking about

      Stick to South Korean Frenchmen you’re on safer ground with that

  38. Frank
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    “The tariff revenue we collected … should of course be given back to consumers as tax cuts…”
    Less the administration costs, of course. Instead of taking £1 out of my pocket and giving me back 50p, why not eliminate the middle man and leave the £1 in my pocket?

    • mancunius
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      To be fair, Frank, this customs revenue would not come from you and me (for once) but from importers of EU produce.

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        If it’s a not recoverable cost of importing, then surely it will be part of the importers sales margin calculation and effectively passed on to the customer?

        • mancunius
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

          …yes, but the customer can choose not to buy those goods, if there is a free market. I was quibbling about the notion of import duty being a direct tax on the consumer – it is not, really. But it is of course a market distortion that affects consumer choices.
          (I assume JR did not mean that import duty should be levied and then immediately repaid to the purchaser, that would make no sense.)

      • Frank
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        You think the importers are going to pay more for their product and you think they’re not going to recoup that extra cost from the wholesaler/retailer/customer (i.e. me)?

        Good luck with that theory.

        • mancunius
          Posted August 29, 2018 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

          Yes Frank, retalers would almost certainly pass on that import tax to the UK customer – but the only way that purchase tax could be ‘left in your pocket’ (as untaxed income) is either for you not to buy goods carrying tariffs, but buy cheaper goods instead (imported under a FT agreement or home-produced) or if the UK were to bypass such import duties altogether, by declaring Unilateral Free Trade, which I would personally favour.
          I’m entirely against the whole notion that we need to impose tit-for-tat import tariffs in any case. We need a Chancellor who does not regard imported goods – like everything else – as a nice little earner for the Treasury.

  39. JoolsB
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    John, could you please confirm that agriculture and fisheries will be the responsibility of the devolved nations except England of course who as usual we will still have the UK Government thinking it knows best for England whilst at the same time banging the drum for UK agriculture and fisheries? If so, we all know what a rotten deal that will mean for England’s farmers and England’s fishermen.

  40. hardlymatters
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Let me see now, it’s gonna be back to the future, with mrs may in Africa, the order will be fruit veg and wine from South Africa and cocoa coffee beans and bananas from Nigeria not exactly JIT but that should see us through. The EU side Barnier and Junker will be quaking in their boots😅

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    So now what cunning deceit is Theresa May up to, with that evil euromaniac genius Olly Robbins still sitting on her shoulder and whispering into her ear?

    First she decided to take a long trip to Africa to pretend that we will be free to make our own trade deals after we have left the EU, even though she knows perfectly well that our hands would still be tied by the crazy Chequers plan that they cooked up.

    And now she is belatedly casting doubt upon Philip Hammond’s dire predictions of the economic damage we would suffer from defaulting to our existing legal rights under the WTO treaties for our future trade with the EU:

    “Theresa May rebukes chancellor’s ‘no-deal’ Brexit assessment”

    So what is she up to?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      Well, according to Politico, echoed by the Sun and the Mail, it seems the EU will reject the Chequers plan on the grounds that it would allow service companies in the UK to escape from under the thumb of the EU and so they would no longer be sufficiently burdened with EU regulations.

      To be fair, they are only talking about potential deregulation worth €6 billion a year, a mere 0.25% of UK GDP, when the total cost of EU regulations may be ten or twenty times that or more, but they are unhappy even about that prospect.

      Of course it is possible that a desperate Theresa May would then offer further concessions to try to buy EU agreement to some special or preferential trade deal, but on the other hand it might be obvious even to her that the game was up and our trade with the EU would default to WTO terms when we left.

      In which case it would be better for the Tory party to tell the public that Philip Hammond had got it all wrong and WTO terms would be fine after all, nowhere near as damaging as he claimed on the basis of imperfect models and outdated data, after all it was never more than a work in progress.

      And according to the Telegraph that work may now cease:

      “Theresa May could stop Chancellor publishing no deal forecasts before MPs vote on her Brexit deal”

      There must be a question whether she still has sufficient authority to do that, given that in the past she at least tolerated, more likely encouraged, civil servants to carry on running defective economic models and leaking dire predictions.

    • Bob
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Niccolò Machiavelli would have been proud of her.

  42. Wessexboy
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    When I was working in farming before we joined the EU, we had a support system from the government that only worked when prices fell below a certain level. This ironed out uncertainty and allayed fears of producing something at too much of a loss. Couple this with zero tariffs on food we don’t produce and we’re all better off.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

      As a consumer, I dream of the day when we import stuff where they can provide us the same things without either paying them to produce it as in EU membership or paying producers here for them to produce it and then buying it from them.

      We have a sentimental economic and political policy to farming perhaps based solely on where certain MPs have farming minded electorates.

      We had a similar political problem in coal-mining. Someone strong fixed it….but not another problem in a farming community where she was based. Pity. Always choose the soft option, we do!

  43. Lorna
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Excellent point ! An NFU Representative on Radio 4 implored us to Buy British and we will if they increase production
    Selling via farm shops and local markets with innovative ideas like home delivered baskets are also essential
    Most shoppers will be delighted to buy mishapen fruits and vegetables even grown in U.K.
    Let’s get going !

    • Prigger
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      PS. I have not known the smell ( hydrogen sulphide ) of rotten eggs for decades, but I do rememberone in six and more get the picture???!!!.

  44. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I note Mrs May has had a ‘trade success’ in Africa.

    Exactly duplicating the deals we already have as part of the EU.

    Another example of how pointless Brexit is.

    We need to drain the swamp and lock up the angry pensioners.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      JR should stop publishing your nonsense.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        I’m inclined to agree.

        Ageism should be made a crime just like racism is and it is Andy whom we should “lock up”.

        It is his sort of mindset that has lead to the sky rocketting physical abuse and neglect of old people.

        He’s also a liar. I know this for a fact. He says I have thoughts which I know are not in my head in order to invalidate my vote.

    • Bob
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

      So now you want to put people in jail for being older than you?
      Silly boy.

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Andy, You still can’t come up with anything the EU can do for us that we cannot do for ourselves. Independence is more important than trade deals. That’s the point of Brexit. And then trade deals that don’t take away our independence are more important than trade deals – like the EU – that do. The WTO is itself a comprehensive global trade deal, even without any of the MRAs and RTAs; and in comparison with the EU it is vastly less intrusive.

    • mancunius
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Well, we shan’t need to lock you up, Andy. You’re already locked into your cocoon of vitriolic, ageist rage.

      You must see yourself as a Peter Pan who will never grow old.

      Ah, but Andy, you will – inevitably – grow old. Your only compensation will be that you will – probably – never grow up.

    • Bredexit
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      So the EU provides us with breadfruit?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      @Andy. Yes, but as far as I can see nobody in Africa wants to govern and rule us like the EU.

    • Steve
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm | Permalink


      “We need to drain the swamp and lock up the angry pensioners.”

      That wasn’t very nice.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink


      We have rolled over partnership agreements with 6 African countries

      You and your remain friends said this would never happen . You said it would take decades to negotiate new agreements

      You are talking total codswallop as usual. You are a Walter Mitty fantasist


      Have a word its another rude and vile post

      • Edward2
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Hans is very partial in his criticism of the content of posts.
        Remainer posts are all nice and polite apparently.

  45. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink


    Are we leading the EU without a withdrawal agreement?

    • NickC
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Hans, Hopefully, yes. Although your Mrs May, like you, wants to keep us subservient to the corrupt, undemocratic, dirigiste, over-centralised, political entity known as the EU.

  46. hans christian ivers
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink


    • hardlymatters
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      Hans..Yes it seems we are leaving with no agreement and I think this is already conceded to by the EU side..and with Mrs May away swanning around Africa for three days and the other senior ministers gone to ground..i would say yes..we will be leaving soon enough with no agreement on then what is happening at the moment is only the pretense by both sides that talks are proceeding but it is very clear that they are all thoroughly fed up with the whole thing..and who could blame them. Very likely we’ll have to wait until after the EU parliament elections next year for talks to resume..also Junker and the ECB boss and others will have to be changed out first. My reading of it

  47. forthurst
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Firstly, we should be aiming at stabilising or reducing food prices overall; it is all very well saying we can apply tariffs, then hand them back as tax reductions, but the cost of food is a primary input to measures of inflation and impacts benefits.

    Secondly, we would wish to encourage our farmers to produce more with the intention of taking back the 25% of our food consumption which has been taken from them under dispensations of the CAP, a cartel that is designed to maintain food prices at higher than world levels by means of a tariff barrier, restricting production by the UK whilst heavily subsidising inefficient producers like the French; therefore the approach should be to support our farmers with subsidies in the short term to compete at world price levels and to increase production whilst reducing or eliminating tariffs on temperate food to the point that food prices do not increase overall.

    In addition, the impact of fuel prices on food production needs addressing (joined up government) as well as the need for maintaining storage of primary produce to iron out oscillations in world food supply.

  48. Den
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m no farmer but I am sure it will difficult to match the huge tomato output and therefore the low cost of those from Spain. Having lived down there for a while and in a rural area, I saw acres and acres of tomato fields under cover and manned 24/7. How the workers managed in those huge hot houses during the summers I do not know but survive and work on they did. They enabled the growers to produce year round and to emulate that here would cost too much in energy costs but seasonally they would certainly be able to compete. Oranges too were in abundance in Spain so much so that passers by were allowed to pick their own.
    A Free Trade Deal with say the USA or Israel would remove the existing 16% tariff on their produce to make them more competitive and I suspect the Spanish will have no choice but reduce their selling prices to become competitive again.

    And that is what Brexit means to me. More competition, lower prices, more choices.
    Now which type of the British consumer would complain about that? The Remaining type?

  49. Frances Lorton
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Where is the land on which to increase output? Dont you grasp that land is a finite resource? That is why we trade across borders. That is why Brexit is stupid.

    • Jean
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Tories used to understand trade. Thatcher would be horrified by what her party has become – a nasty nationalist rabble

      • Edward2
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        It is still pro remain Jean so your comment is silly.

      • libertarian
        Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        Hi Jean

        What is it you trade in ?

    • Edward2
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Food comes into the UK from all over the world.
      The UK exports food all over the world.
      Supermarkets are full of products from all over the world.
      This will not change.
      There is a huge land capacity to grow more of our own food in the UK
      CAP has encouraged UK farmers to not grow.

    • Prigger
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Francis Lorton
      Ah, the Law of Diminishing Returns chapter one. Merely a fixed ememplar. Of course updated by technology, fertilisers, soil improvement, seed/plant and animal genetic improvement regarding breeding. Absolutely massive ongoing produce totals.We have some way to go on that one, genetics is a relatively new science.
      Africa has a somewhat higher “finite” than EU finite borders. So too the rest of the planet which the EU somehow in squinted vision blocks out.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Frances Lorton

      Less than 10% of England is built on, so theres your answer to that

      We dont trade across borders because of land. Good grief where do you people drag this nonsense up from. We buy products that other countries produce. One of the major foundations of free markets is “Comparative advantage” . Go look it up

    • Steve
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      @ Frances Lorton


  50. fedupsoutherner
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Living amongst farmers here I am amazed at the number of young men and women who would like to go into farming but simply cannot afford to either rent or buy. Looking around at the number of farms coming up for sale for building land wouldn’t it be sensible to spend money on the young and give them a helping hand onto the farming ladder? If you are not lucky enough to inherit a farm then starting up is nigh impossible and when starting out the profit margin is very slim. It’s only the big farms that make the money and they are usually farms that have expanded over time and been handed down through the family. Give new comers a chance.

  51. mancunius
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Given the layers of EU subsidy for agri, it would be a brave farmer who didn’t view the future of e.g. upland sheep farming with nervous apprehension. On the other hand, much of the fearmongering is from the usual suspects – the FT, and research institutes themselves in receipt of large EU grants.
    What we need to do to begin with after Brexit is to support the farming industry with the kind of targeted subsidy needed to see them over the first stages of a European market putting large tariff blocks on UK food imports into the EU.
    UK farming – particularly SME farming – has been moving in a very positive direction for years. There is a definite appetite throughout Britain for locally grown meat, dairy, veg and fruit products, and we should do everything we can – including subsidy-replacement, however temporary – to encourage SME production and distribution.
    For example, UK postal charges for vacuum-packed meat and dairy products can be made deliberately low, to help the mail-order business to flourish. There are countless farms that could benefit as a result. A new, better specialised food delivery service could compete for niche markets with the fixed retailers. Butchers might return to the High Street. Slaughtering rules could be restored to their pre-Maastricht equilibrium.

  52. Norman
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    In the context of very recent signs of a strategic re-alignment, between the EU, Russia, Turkey and Iran, in response to the perceived new American isolationism, with Macron calling for EU military sovereignty, I think it behoves the UK to think of FOOD SECURITY with a new sense of purpose!
    “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? (Proverbs 27:23-24).
    Is anyone listening. this time round? I’m not advocating isolationism, but the nation that neglects its farmers leaves itself open to disaster.

  53. Peter
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Agricultural production cannot be suddenly turned on for March 30th 2019. Whether animal or vegetable, cereals or fruit each has a natural reproductive or growth cycle. investment over a period of years will be involved. Regarding the agricultural labour force: Maybe those who lose their jobs in industry which relocates to the rest of the EU will be able to work on the land. its a sort of reverse industrial revolution and we can all ive in those good old days without access to modern medicine and machinery.

    Reply It is August. I am asking farmers to plant more for autumn and winter sowing so we have more available from April, and to choose a tariff structure which helps them!

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      We have an obesity epidemic. Most people are overweight and unhealthy.

    • DanB
      Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply..what a load of bunkum as if farmers are going to go out there and plan their year around some kind of hear say about what the future might be. Onstead we should be building more merchant ships and ovethauling some of thesmaller ports instead because the dover calais conveyor belt of JIT is going to slow up and very likely stop..our whole way of trading is going to change drastically.

    • libertarian
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink


      Thats funny because where I live we have a massive area of fruit and vegetable production that operates year round and produces tomatoes, cucumbers etc in the middle of winter. I think you’ll find things have moved on a bit in the last 50 years


      Really? You dont think that business people ( farmers are business people) have to put in place plans based on guesswork and analysis of possible trends?

      Oh and Dan you make yourself look really silly trotting out this remainer cobblers about Dover and JIT. You like most remainers do not have a clue what JIT is even. It has nothing to do with Dover. Dover isn’t even our biggest port .The whole point of JIT is that its planned to avoid bottlenecks .

  54. G
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Yes, farming and fishing is a good start. But I see the scientists are getting in a flap again. I would still like an incisive analysis of the state of science, technology and intellectual property in this country under the EU. Please?!

  55. Dave , Spencers Wood
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    So you said “If we simply impose current EU tariff levels on the EU as well when we leave to meet the obligation for common tariffs on our complete worldwide trade, there would be a substantial tariff barrier against items like Danish bacon, French cheese and Irish beef which would give the UK a huge boost to produce more for ourselves.”

    A tariff is a tax on the consumer isn’t it ? So why is your government going to tax me more when we leave the EU than you do now ? What are you going to do with that money? I am perfectly capable of choosing the country of origin of my food. Just make sure there is proper labelling and some way of judging the conditions that food is produced under. Why are we supporting any UK farmers at all?

  56. Prigger
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    BBC Fake News has got it sewn up today, which we should all welcome.

    They remarked on May’s Into Africa trip that , and yes you have guessed it “The EU provides food exports to the UK which Africa cannot EVER,EVER, provide”

    Africa is , well,… big. By big, I mean very big, about a big as you could do with really.
    I think “EVER” where Africa is concerned is a tiny bit OTT. The BBC is never ever, truth telling.

  57. Steve
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    JR, I’m intrigued by your latest topic.

    Since you are asking farming and fishing industries to organise themselves ready for brexit, does that mean the government has not encompassed these two vital industries within the scope of no deal contingency plans ?

    You said recently that the government was working on plans to manage a no deal scenario, and I would have thought fishing and agriculture would have been top priorities.

    Or perhaps you are just merely inviting their opinions.

    I also have it in the back of my mind that Theresa May recently gave the EU rights to our fishing waters after brexit, instead of reclaiming them.

  58. Andy
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I have a solution to the fundamental problem Brexit poses. It is far from an ideal solution but it is better than nothing.

    You see, for all Mr Redwood’s talk of economics it is clear that Brexit is primarily an issue of identity. How do you see yourself? How do you see your country?

    It is clear that people like me will never see the world in the way the angry pensioners do. For me being an EU citizen is important. It is part of who I am. You have stolen it from me – and that’s why I will never back Brexit. Being ‘British’ is irrelevant to me.

    For most of you it is the opposite. It is a titanic battle and, ultimately, it is one that you can not win because the vast majority of younger people think like me.

    So what about a compromise? You can be British and have all the benefits you claim that brings. We can be European and we have all the benefits we know it brings.

    We could sign up for EU citizenship, paying a individual annual fee, getting us a passport, free movement, consumer protections, workers rights etc. You could have you blue passports.

    UK businesses could choose to serve Britons or EU citizens or both. But would need to charge differnent amounts – as you would not benefit from free trade and we would.

    Large parts of London, most of Scotland and the big cities would effectively become no go areas for Leave voters – but you’re not wanted there anyway and don’t fit in. In return I would not be able to go to Stoke or Grimsby. Cornwall would be a sad place to miss – but as an EU citizen I would benefit from cheap airtravel to Tuscany (you wouldn’t) and I could go there instead.

    Almost two parallel countries running alongside each other. This is effectively what we have now – we would just be formalising it.

    Think of the benefits. You do not have anything to do with us and, thankfully, we will have to have nothing to do with you. You can be British and have all the benefits you claim it will bring. We can be European. Companies can vote with their feet. Yes, it’s segregation – but not along colourlines but along age and education lines. We are definitely better off without you – you will be happier without us.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Your lengthy post starts with a flaw.
      Brexit isn’t about identity.
      It is about a nation being independent.

      You are not a citizen of the EU.
      The EU is not a nation.
      You can only be a citizen of a nation.
      The EU is currently just a trading bloc.
      You can be European though.

      Your idea for a two class country is an hilarious fantasy because the EU has no plans to offer you such an arrangement for a small fee.

    • margaret howard
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 9:57 pm | Permalink


      Well said.

      My son and his London based professional circle of friends and colleagues feel that like you theywill have an important part of themselves taken away.

      They are highly educated people contributing enormously to this country, not disgruntled oldies at odds with the modern world.

  59. Tabulazero
    Posted August 28, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    UK has 300,000 active farms with an average size of 57 hectares. They will get decimated when they will have to compete on the international market price because labour cost and food standards are much higher.

    • Edward2
      Posted August 29, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      A quite ridiculous claim Tab which shows you have no idea about how agriculture works as an industry in either the UK nor the EU.

  60. Prigger
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Yes, of course, I am a little over 60 years old

  61. Prigger
    Posted August 29, 2018 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    I met a woman once,
    she described herself as blonde-haired. She wasn’t!
    I could see the roots.
    She was a bleach-blonde.
    Women are cunning.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page