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'Crashing out' of the EU would be devastating for farmers

August 13, 2019 10:49 AM

As well as fighting the impending County Council election on purely local issues (and building on the party's reputation for community engagement), Rutland and Melton Liberal Democrats are also gearing up for the possibility of a General Election that many now expect will be held in the autumn. Nationally the Liberal Democrats are firm in their opposition to a "no deal" exit from the EU, and indeed have consistently supported remaining within the Union. A hard Brexit would have serious implications for our rural community.

Local sheep farmer Jim MacCartney is fearful of "crashing out" and the estimated 40% tariffs this will mean on the 90% of their exports that are exported to EU countries. "We farm 600 Sheepbreeding ewes in Rutland which together with our rearing cattle form our main farming enterprise. For us, the threat of a no deal Brexit is fairly terrifying. We are trying to sell all our lambs this year before 31st October, but sheep farming is a 5 year investment as we invest in the breeding life of the ewes. What, therefore will we do next year if we have to factor in a 40% export tariff on the lambs that we sell? Farming in the UK is already a loss making enterprise without state subsidy. Without a fundamental restructuring of the pricing within agriculture, farmers in Rutland and across the country will be in a loss making position, putting the future of British agriculture as a whole in serious jeopardy".