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EU exit could see a drop in subsidies for farmers, says Agricultural Society study

Farmers are unlikely to benefit from the UK leaving the EU, and could see a drop in subsidies, minimal reduction in regulations, and unpredictable trade relations, according to a report for the Yorkshire Agricultural Society. 

The report, by Professor Wyn Grant of Warwick University and available here, reiterates that the UK Government is unlikely to continue subsidies at their current level, and that Pillar 1 is particularly vulnerable. The regulatory burden on farmers – the reduction of which is not guaranteed– would take years to achieve, while the protracted negotiations with the EU would make it difficult for farmers to make medium and long-term plans. 

Alyn Smith MEP, Scotland’s sole representative on the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, said: 

“This is a solid contribution to the EU debate, and I welcome the findings. Scotland’s farmers benefit from our membership of the EU, whether through subsidies, progressive legislation, or someone standing up for them against supermarket Unfair Trading Practices. 

“Britain would still have to abide by EU regulations if it wanted to export to Europe, and import tariffs would make British goods more expensive.

“Farmers are already in a precarious position, and they cannot afford the uncertainty that an Out vote would bring, especially when no-one from the Out side appears to have thought about the implications on the agriculture industry."