UK’S BREXIT LABOUR FEAR
BRITISH farmers are preparing for post-Brexit labour shortages and rising farm input costs.
Despite a tentative Brexit deal between the EU and UK — which could yet be rejected by the House of Commons in a vote next week — farmers are worried it will be difficult to hire European workers and fear that the price of fertilisers, fodder and other farm inputs will start to rise after the UK leaves the bloc.
Britain’s Farmers’ Weekly is even polling producers to check whether they will be stockpiling ahead of Brexit day on March 29, 2019. The UK’s four major farmers’ unions have welcomed the Brexit deal. It guarantees the status quo until December 2020 (which could be extended to end2022) but does not legally bind the EU or UK to any post-Brexit labour or import laws.
“There is still a huge job to be done in negotiating the details of our future relationship with the EU,” said the head of the UK’s National Farming Union, Minette Batters. She is pressing for a new trade deal that guarantees “free and frictionless trade”, access to overseas labour and assurances that farmers can continue to import “the raw materials for a domestic food industry that employs 3.8m people”.
Joe Healy, President of the Irish farmers’ Union, says frictionless trade will not be possible and “will damage both Irish farmers and food exporters and their counterparts in the UK”.