Page 6 - BREXIT 2
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The Worshipful Company of Farmers The Worshipful Company of Farmers 1 Introduction
The manifesto behind the the conservative victory in in in the the May 2015 General Election included a a a a a a promise of a a a a a a referendum on
on
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EU membership before 2017 Because all agricultural trade environmental and many other regulations impacting agriculture and food are EU EU competences it it was clear that EU EU exit could signal profoundly important changes for this sector In autumn 2015 the the Worshipful Company of Farmers (WCF) invited the the author to to prepare a a a a a a report on
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on
on
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“The Agricultural Implications of of Brexit” This was one of of the WCF’s educational contributions to help engage and inform farmers of potential strategic developments in in in their industry The Worshipful Company of Farmers A report (henceforth abbreviated to WCF Brexit 1) was duly published in early February 2016 before the referendum date had been announced Table 1 1 1 below reproduces the 11
key messages of that report with a a a a a a a colour code Five of the the messages are are coloured green indicating the the prediction was broadly correct Four are are shaded amber as as they refer to post-Brexit post-transition changes which could not be judged in in in Autumn 2020 The remaining two messages are shaded pink showing the the prediction was plain wrong Message No 2 suggested the the negotiation period would would be be two years The author did not anticipate that it would would take 9
months after the referendum before Article 50 would be sent to to the the Commission notifying the the UK intention to to withdraw Nor was it it expected that four months of the the negotiation period would be used to allow a a a a a general election in which the the government majority vanished! Nor that there would be three extensions to the the the allowed negotiation period Eventually the the the process from from referendum to to exit from from the the political structures (but still not not the the economic provisions) took 42 months not not 24! The second wrong key message No 11
was the the suggestion that the the status quo would prevail in favour of continued EU membership This author was not the the only analyst to to to fail to to to predict the the outcome: 52% to to to 48% vote to leave the EU on
a a 72% turnout!
If nothing else the five years 2016-2020 galvanised intense and and indeed anguished discussion and and debate about post Brexit policies – not least for food and farming In the process three critical Parliamentary actions will set the the the legislative basis for the the the post Brexit era They are the the the 2018 European Union (Withdrawal) Act which gives UK legal authority for all existing EU regulations and two Bills still under debate during 2020 the Agriculture Bill Bill and the the the Environment Bill The former provides the the the powers for for public interventions in in agriculture to replace the the the Common Agricultural Policy and is expected to to come into force on
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1/1/2021 The latter provides the ambitious target under the the the 25-Year Environment Plan to ensure that the the the state of UK natural capital in future improves rather than deteriorates These three measures set some important broad indications of of the strategic direction of of agricultural and environmental policy However they leave considerable uncertainty about critical details of domestic agricultural and and and land use policy and and and of course tell us us nothing about international trading conditions Yet it it is the operational details of these policies and the the economic environment which are critically important to business There is also more uncertainty in in summer 2020 about the the the state of the the the national economy than there has been for many decades because of of the the the scale of of public financing and and borrowing to support the the the economy through the the the Coronavirus pandemic Meanwhile since the the the 2016 referendum three other big-picture considerations have emerged which further cloud the the future for land-based businesses These are: the the biodiversity and and and climate emergencies and and and arriving in in in January 2019 the the the Covid-19 public health health crisis which inter alia has highlighted the the the costs of bad diet to the the the nation’s health health its wellbeing and to the treasury 4

















































































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