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Ed's Brexit round-up

20th Oct 2017 / By Ed Barker

NPA senior policy advisor Ed Barker's weekly round up of the latest Brexit developments and how they affect the pig sector. 

Are we any further on?

A slightly unusual week in the House this week – as many people have been asking themselves ‘are we any further on negotiations?’ Well, depending who you speak to, the overall picture looks somewhat opaque. At the most recent European Council leaders’ summit, it was concluded that no further progress on trade could be made at this point in time, however it was also noted that this should be achievable in the near future. However, time is constantly ticking until February 2019, and for the UK pig sector, we cannot really wait too much longer before we are seriously facing a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Walk away?

A group of Eurosceptic MPs in the Conservatives have told Mrs May this week that the Government should walk away from negotiations if it is felt the EU is asking for unrealistic demands. Their main issue appears to be the much-scorned ‘Brexit Bill’ being asked of the UK to pay upon leaving. Many MPs and Cabinet members have stated that the UK must be prepared to leave with no deal if it is to be taken seriously. Perhaps a good tactic for poker, but not the economy and farming.

EU labour survey

A big thanks to all members who took the time to fill out our EU labour survey that we ran over the past few weeks. It brought a large number of responses, and a good indication of where you, the members stand on current migration and sourcing future members of the workforce. It is safe to say that the survey reveals a concerning decrease in accessing migrant labour and people with adequate skills to meet the demands of modern pig farming and associated businesses. More worryingly, those who are working here are starting to think about leaving, given uncertainty over Brexit and a weak pound. This response has helped us shape our response to the Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC) call for evidence, and is one we will continue to use as a point of lobbying over the coming year. The results will be published soon...