Am I the only reader to be shocked at the irony of MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, pictured at the National Farmers’ Union-sponsored Back British Farming event at Westminster, acclaiming British farmers’ role in providing safe and affordable food for the nation (Northumberland Gazette, October 4)?
Mrs Trevelyan is a member of the European Research Group (ERG).
Far from continuing the vital financial support and EU buyers for our lamb, which two generations of British farmers have had in the EU, this group could undermine the work and businesses of Britain’s wealth creators, including farmers, with trade deals with countries thousands of miles away to replace the 10,000 HGVs that cross the Channel every day.
This level of trade would require seven Americas, which is impossible.
The economist who supports their beliefs sees an end to the UK’s manufacturing industry and a dramatic reduction of British food production.
The wider world’s economists, industrialists, union leaders and the NFU see it is an act of ‘catastrophic’ self-harm.
The ERG favours joining the Cairns Group of agricultural exporters, such as Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia, where environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards may be questionable.
‘Low-cost’ food producers can be very expensive in the long run. Apart from the impact on their environment and workers, some countries use hormonal growth-promoters and chlorine-wash their meat.
Even the ‘best case’ Brexit scenario is that the EU’s reliable support for UK food production will disappear, with payments for landowners to ‘re-wild’ our precious land, at a time when food security in an increasingly dangerous, unstable world has never made it more vital.