The Prime Minister has responded to concerns over the protection of Lincolnshire’s food and farming industry post-Brexit following NFU farmers’ requests for government to back the industry.
The question was raised by Louth and Horncastle MP Victoria Atkins as to whether the government would continue to back British farming during negotiations for new trade deal.
In her answer the Prime Minister said: “We do have an opportunity to build a new future for our food and farming industry when we leave the European Union.
“We will maintain the UK’s high standards of food safety and of animal welfare, that will be a priority for us and any trade deals we enter into will need to be right for consumers, for businesses, for farmers they will need to ensure our food safety and environmental protection and of course the animal welfare standards I just referred to.
“We recognise the need for certainty for businesses and we’ve already provided guarantees of support for farmers up to 2020 and I can assure her we will continue to back British farmers.”
The response has been welcomed by NFU President Meurig Raymond. He said: “We are pleased to see that farming’s significant contribution to the country, economically, socially and environmentally, has been recognised at by the Prime Minister.
“For every £1 invested in farming, it gives £7.40 back to the nation.
“It provides the raw ingredients for a food and farming sector worth £108 billion and employing nearly four million people. It’s providing a secure food system within our shores, feeding the nation.
“To maintain, or even accelerate, British farming’s contribution post-Brexit, we need government to secure the right trade conditions and access to a competent and reliable workforce in formal negotiations.
“The importance of certainty for farming businesses mentioned by the Prime Minister today is something British farmers need and the country needs.
“We’re continuing to push for commitments for when the Treasury’s guarantee comes to a close at the end of 2019. After all, this will be when the UK is operating outside of the EU.
“The Prime Minister rightfully says we have an opportunity to build a new future for our industry post Brexit. The NFU’s work on post-Brexit policy will ensure Government is able to seize this opportunity so the farming sector can thrive.”