No-deal Brexit disastrous for farming sector, research suggests

A no-deal Brexit could have catastrophic consequences for the agricultural industry, a new report has revealed.
The study, published by business analyst Andersons, shows that crashing out of the EU could cost the sector some £850 million a year in lost profits.
The report even suggests that Brexit could have a greater impact than the BSE and foot-and-mouth disease disasters.
Breaking down the individual effects of a no-deal Brexit, Andersons says farmers are likely to pay sky-high tariffs on goods exported to the EU for the first time.
For many, this will mean levies of up to 45 – 50 per cent on lamb and sheep exports, while some cuts of beef could attract tariffs of more than 90 per cent – in line with current trading regulations for non-EU countries importing into the EU.
This could have a significant knock-on effect, with farmers not just paying more to export their meat, but with purchasers looking elsewhere as British farmers attempt to recoup their profits by raising prices.
Elsewhere, additional veterinary and customs checks could all amount to unaffordable increases in costs for British farmers.
Cumulatively, profitability from across the whole industry could plummet by 18 per cent, or around £800 to £850 million, the research says.
Commenting on the study, Andersons researcher Michael Haverty said: “At the moment a number of farms across numerous sectors are heavily reliant on support.
“Many farms are struggling to break even. If they get a hit in terms of profitability of 18 per cent, and for some sectors significantly more, then that has huge implications for the viability of those farms.”
Mr Haverty added that it was “inevitable” that substantial levels of financial support would be required while farms adjust.
“If we look at some of the other key challenges of the past – BSE and foot-and-mouth for instance – they were significant in their own right but perhaps a bit more confined,” he said.
“A no-deal Brexit is more encompassing. It’s not just within the agricultural sector, it’s within the wider economy as well. On that basis it’s the biggest challenge this industry has faced probably since World War Two.”
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