No alternative plan for UK farming if the country leaves the EU

The government has been forced to admit that there is currently no alternative plan for farming if the UK decides to the leave the EU before the end of 2017 following the EU referendum.

Environment Secretary Liz Truss recently revealed that department officials were not yet working on a contingency plan that would form the basis of UK agricultural policy should Britain vote to leave the EU in 2017.

She said: “We have teams in Defra working on animal and plant health, environmental improvement, increasing exports and supporting farmers. But we don’t have any team working on that.”

“We are pursuing a re-negotiation at the moment to get a better deal for Britain which we are going to put in front of the British people. We will need to see what we get when that referendum takes place,”

“There are clearly big benefits in being part of the EU in terms of access to the single market for farmers.

“There are also big questions to be discussed about bureaucracy, including the complexity of the CAP administration system. There are big costs as well.”

The President of the NFU Meurig Raymond has insisted that the referendum could completely change the way agriculture operates in the UK

Shadow Defra Secretary Kerry McCarthy criticised the Environment Secretary’s stance, she said: “It is very narrowly focused – I think we need to look at the Defra side of it far more. I agree that there ought to be a team within the department looking at it. If people were to make an informed decision, then that work needed to be done.”