Ed's Brexit round-up
5th Aug 2018 / By Ed Barker
Now that we are in the season of parliamentary recess things in theory have gone a bit quieter in Westminster and Brussels.
It will not have passed over many NPA members that the discussions surrounding Brexit have sharply diverted towards a ‘no deal’ possibility, something that had not really or realistically been thought about a matter of months ago. The reason we are looking closer at a no deal is because we are still to see a final ‘withdrawal agreement’ – essentially an agreement to start making a final agreement! It is the process for agreeing red lines, and the very basics before being in a position to talk about a future EU/UK deal and progress into a transition period until the end of 2020. It would surprise few people to hear that the Irish border is one such impediment to finalising the Withdrawal Agreement – the EU wanting a backstop arrangement that would see Northern Ireland treated as part of the EU, something that the UK Government opposes greatly.
There has however been agreement on citizens’ rights, which will state that EU nationals who, by 2020, have been continuously and lawfully living in the UK for at least five years will be able to apply to stay indefinitely by obtaining ‘settled status’. Those that have been here for less than five years can still stay and apply for settled status at the five-year point. There has also been progress in the fact that the UK will be able to sign new trade deals after March 2019, as well as agree on enforcement of existing rules and the contentious ‘exit bill’.
However if the Irish border issue cannot be resolved, then there is no Withdrawal Agreement, no implementation (transition) period and therefore a ‘no deal’, ‘WTO’ scenario. A number of politicians have stated that this would not be such a bad deal for the UK, though I am still to be convinced it would do more harm than good, especially when it would be such a dramatic, overnight change. Outside of the pig sector and pork markets, you would have to consider currency fluctuations, fuel prices, interest rates and basic commodity prices, and how they could all be affected, and what the knock on effects may be.