Some 37 organisations representing the UK’s food and farming industry met at the Brexit360 event, hosted by the National Farmers Union (NFU), in order to set out what a successful Brexit means to the sector.
The attendees said they were “united in their view” that a thriving domestic food and farming base is “central” to the future environmental, social and economic health of the country. They also agreed that their sector will continue to have a “critical role” in providing a secure, affordable and trusted supply of food.
The groups agreed on a number of high level aims that the government must seek to achieve in the coming months, as the UK prepares to leave the EU, including:
- Maintaining a free and frictionless trade with our major trading partner, the EU, and to secure the benefits of existing EU preferential trade arrangements with other countries
- Ensuring ongoing access to an adequate supply of permanent and seasonal labour for food and farming businesses
- Continuing to promote food production through agricultural policy alongside the UK’s existing high environmental and animal welfare standards
- Ensuring businesses operate under an efficient and proportionate regulatory system that is centred on scientific evaluation and that incentivises innovation and competitiveness
Nick von Westenholz, NFU director of EU exit and international trade, said this statement is a “strong signal” urging the government to recognise the “crucial role” the food supply sector will continue to play in post-Brexit Britain.
He added: “The Government must ensure it supports these vital advantages delivered by UK food and drink businesses as it negotiates our withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the EU.”