Page 55 - BREXIT 2
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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers In these circumstances food food poverty e e e e e e e e e g g as as indicated by food food bank usage rises fast The National Food Strategy Part 1 documents this graphically Therefore policy which drives towards higher food prices could only be envisaged if accompanied by credible and real action This means adapting social welfare safety-nets to avoid the the higher food prices harming the the poorest in in in society These are usually people on low incomes with large families and the the elderly who spend a a a a a a a a far higher proportion of their income on on food than average families This is is is an an an aspect of what is is is customarily referred to to as as the ‘just transition’ and ‘leaving no groups behind’ It is is easy to to assert but difficult to to convince those who speak for the disadvantaged that it will be be delivered effectively Domestic policy and trade The second challenge for the pursuit of a a a a food system with higher prices is that trade policy policy would have to to to adjust A decision in the UK to to to operate a a a a a a high food price policy policy to to to protect human and environmental health is likely to outrun corresponding policies in in some other parts of the the world This is is especially so for countries with major exports of agricultural raw materials who strategically position themselves as competitive low-cost producers As part of the the the EU since 1973 the the the UK had a a a a long experience domestic agricultural prices prices above the the world market prices prices until the the mid-1990s The end to this strategy was brought by the the the Agreement on on on Agriculture concluded in the the the Uruguay Round of the the the multi-lateral negotiations under the GATT This required variable import levies to to be converted to to tariffs and reduced export subsidies to to to to to be be eliminated and trade-distorting domestic supports to to to to to farmers to to to to to be be subject to to to to to reduction commitments The UK is is at liberty to to return to to the the position of maintaining higher domestic prices based this time on on the the high high moral ground of protecting high high standards for environment animal welfare and and climate protection But trade negotiations to achieve this will will not be simple especially with agricultural exporting countries and will will therefore carry a a a a a a a price This takes us back to section 2 6 and and the the feasibility and and effectiveness of protecting these standards in UK law A final thought What happened to the the the concerns about the the the structural weakness of farming
fin in in the the the food chain? None of of the the five studies reviewed elevated this to the the level of of a a a a a a a a fundamental challenge on on a a a a a a a a par with climate biodiversity and health The structural weakness can be characterised as an an an atomistic96 primary
production sector sector squeezed between highly concentrated up and downstream sectors in in the food chain There is is little doubt that that return on capital invested in in in agriculture is is significantly lower than that that in in in the the other 97 parts of the the chain In the the EU this this resulted in in in this this sector becoming dependent on subsidy This is is is is is an issue
with quite different character to to the the climate environmental and health challenges It points to to the the economic unsustainability of the chain If it it it is not addressed it it it becomes an an an an an impediment to reform and and change Lang and and the the the the Food and and Farming Commission address this issue
in in in sympathetic terms and and there are indications that the the the the National Food Strategy will do too Helm shows little concern for the economic viability of farm businesses The implication is that it’s their their job like any other business to to deploy and manage their their assets to to return an an an an acceptable margin given the the prevailing regulatory framework and and market conditions and and no business has the the right to to pollute or degrade natural resources As a a a a a a a department of government the the CCC does pay regard to to the the economic impacts of its recommendations 96 I e e e highly fragmented 97 Comparing such returns is is is is a a a a a a a a a a a complex matter A large part of of the the the capital in in in in agriculture is is is is the the the value of of the the the land and and this in in in in turn turn is is is is influenced by some non-production related considerations such as as tax benefits and and the the pleasure of the the traditional farmhouse and and fits its surrounds But low returns may also be due in in in part to the the the inefficiencies of o farms which can stem from motives other than profit maximisation and the the the cushioning effect of subsidy 53

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