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Ed's Brexit round-up

16th Feb 2018 / By Ed Barker

EdBarkerNPAWhat a week to take a few days off.

Boris speech: This week we have seen, in Brexit terms, more of the same. Earlier in the week Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson delivered a speech on Brexit that was aimed to be more reconciliatory in its tone between those for and against Brexit. Sadly, the level of detail was very slim, with few physical policy propositions being put forward. Lots of optimism and reasons to be cheerful yes, but not much on how to get there. Such speeches seem to be the norm and not the exception.

View from Europe: An interesting subplot to Brexit is playing out around the capitals of Europe at the moment. That is – money. With the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it leaves a pretty sizeable chunk of money to make up for, or to remove altogether, from the European budget. In response, the European Commission is looking at taking a share of corporate tax receipts from each country and increasing individual contributions – very unpopular with some northern EU countries but popular with eastern countries who are net beneficiaries. Others are saying there should be cuts to the budget in areas such as the CAP, development funding and administration of the EU’s institutions. This will be an interesting one to watch.

Labour's welfare plan: This week also saw the Labour Party’s animal welfare plan – members will already have seen the news reported on this website and discussed in the forum. My only word of caution on all of this is this:

The current Government has been receiving a lot of positive press for recent statements on the future CAP in the UK, plastics, animal sentience, dangerous dogs, animal cruelty sentencing and CCTV in abattoirs. It is soon to release its ‘command paper’ on future agricultural support in the UK and next week also sees the NFU conference where more policies are likely to be launched. Faced with these, Labour have forced themselves to put something out that is seen to be more eye catching that what the Government is doing already. In addition, these are broad blue sky proposals, it could be many years before a general election and of course shadow minsters tend to get reshuffled a lot.

That isn’t to say the policies announced on free farrowing systems or ‘megafarms’ will be necessarily ditched by Labour, but it is reasonable to suggest that they are not going to be in place any time soon. Many of the policies were heavily caveated, and we hope to meet the Labour team in the coming months to further examine the full detail behind their aspirations for the UK pig sector. So my takeaway message in this is yes it was a surprise to us, but think of the wider political issues at play!