Transitional period will provide important stability, NFU says

The NFU have welcomed the the prime minister’s commitment to a transitional period after the UK leaves the EU as it believes that this period will provide important stability for farm businesses and prepares the ground for both sides to make progress in Brexit negotiations.

However, the union needs more details if farmers and growers are to have the certainty to plan and invest in their businesses in the future. Trade and immigration are key.

NFU President Meurig Raymond said: “Farmers and growers are becoming increasingly alarmed at the prospect of a “no deal” departure from the EU. The resulting disruption to trade, access to labour and business stability would pose a fundamental threat to the viability of many of their businesses.

“The implementation period that the prime minister spoke of will be crucial if we are to reach a Brexit settlement that backs British farming, although we await further details on exactly how such a transition will work."

The NFU is calling for a comprehensive free trade agreement between the EU and UK since more than 70% of the UK's exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks are sent to EU markets.

Mr Raymond said: “Any agreement should maintain as far as practicable the free flow of agri-food products between the EU and UK, and following today’s speech this remains a realistic prospect, although much now depends on proper progress being made in the negotiations.

“We were also very interested to hear the prime minister’s commitment to maintaining free movement of people involving a registration system for new arrivals. However, the industry desperately needs more detail on how the immigration system will work both during and after the transition – vague pledges and offers are not enough if potential workers are to be reassured that they can legally take up the jobs on offer."