CLA President Ross Murray looks at the impact of Brexit and what the triggering of Article 50 means for the rural economy.
"The triggering of article 50 is a historic milestone, but it is the imminent publication of the Great Repeal Bill that may reveal most about how the Brexit process will impact on farmers.
The Prime Minister has laid out a simple and sensible concept for how EU laws will be transferred into UK law. Under the Bill, all of the EU laws that currently apply to the way we run our farms will still apply the day after Brexit.
Having undertaken a wholesale repatriation of the laws that govern us, Ministers can then begin a process of systematic reform and change. Whilst it is a straightforward principle, our weekly discussions with Government show it is far from straightforward in practice. This process is showing up hundreds, if not thousands, of detailed questions about how rules will transfer and how they will be enforced.
It’s a complex and time consuming job, but it is not a reason to be pessimistic about Brexit. Done systematically and well it will ensure that the rules that regulate our farms are the rights ones for our own domestic industry. To do this job well will take all of the two years allowed for by article 50 and maybe more.
The real pressure comes when we consider that the task could include not only transferring existing laws but designing a wholesale replacement for the Common Agricultural Policy by the currently set deadline of 2019/20. It is hard to see how Government in general, and Defra in particular, has the capacity to do both these things at the same time.
Ministers can and should remove this pressure. Now is the time to extend the funding commitment and set out a realistic timeframe for creating a policy that will meet the needs of the next generation of our farming industry.”
CLA members can find out more about the impact of Brexit in the CLA's weekly email bulletin later this week.
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