Weekly Roundup: Brexit, Brexit, Brexit

Well, I’m sure there’s lots of other things happening in the world of food this week, but the issue of agriculture in the referendum on us leaving the EU is still the biggie.

The process for withdrawing from the European Union

A document released by the cabinet office this week outlines the process for withdrawing from the European Union. It is covered well in The Guardian here.

Most pointedly, section 2.9 of the document states that:

… a vote to leave the EU would be the start, not the end, of a process. It
could lead to up to a decade or more of uncertainty.
Opinion rages on both sides, but I do wonder if many people realise that if we vote to leave the EU on 23rd June it won’t mean freedom from Brussels by July. It’s a long process.

Defra 25-year plan for Agriculture

This week Liz Truss stated at the NFU’s conference that Defra’s 25-year plan for agriculture will:

… detail how we will attract even more skilled people to the industry, build the British brand and increase exports.

Unfortunately though it hasn’t yet been published, and it is long overdue: initially it was expected before Christmas. Now the government says it will be published later in the spring, writes Johann Tasker in FW.

I, and no doubt many famers am awaiting it with baited breath.

‘Childish turf war’ blamed for farm payment delays

Meanwhile in Whitehall, a pretty damning report released by the Public Accounts Committee outlines the reasons behind why payments to farmers have been delayed. The key reasons, outlined in the summary were:

 … key bodies involved in the Common Agricultural Policy Delivery Programme … were unable to work together effectively.

Dysfunctional and inappropriate behaviours amongst senior leaders were inexcusable and deeply damaging to the Programme.

An inability to agree a clear vision for the Programme meant that the frequent changes in leadership were accompanied by changes of direction, shifts in focus and further disruption.
Some reasons given by those involved, mentioned by Labour MP Meg Hillier (quoted in FW) were:
‘we worked on different floors’ and ‘we dressed differently’
I’ve been trying to stay on the fence on this, but the more I read, the more I find it hard to believe that us exiting the EU is going to result in anything beneficial for farmers any time soon.