Michael Gove: Brexit will lift 'EU straitjacket' from Shropshire farmers

Michael Gove says Brexit will remove the ‘European straitjacket’ from farmers.

Environment Minister, Michael Gove
Environment Minister, Michael Gove

The Environment Secretary was down on the farm in Shropshire today learning about an innovative style of agriculture that avoids ploughing fields and, instead, drills seeds into the soil.

He also visited Harper Adams University, near Newport, which is working with farmer Tim Ashton researching into the ‘No-Till’ method.

The farmer said that his costs had been cut by 60 per cent because of the system.

A leading Brexiteer, Mr Gove answered fears that Shropshire’s farmers will suffer when Britain leaves the EU. Speaking in Wem, he said: “Farmers have been stuck in the straitjacket of Europe. Brexit will remove that straitjacket. Farmers in Shropshire produce high quality food that they will be able to continue to produce without the constraints of Europe.

“Cheap, imported food may be cheap but it has not the quality.”

Many farmers fear that Brexit will prevent the movement of migrant workers who are needed in the agricultural industry.

But the Secretary of State said that there would be enough workers.

He added: “The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary have been very clear that once we leave the European Union our migration policy will be shaped by the interests of industry.

“Food and drink has depended on labour from abroad. We know that migrant workers, from the vets to the abattoirs and other parts of farming come from the EU’s 27 countries.

“But they also come from further afield. We want to make sure our policy is attuned to the needs of business, and is flexible.

“This is why we’ve been talking to farmers to make sure we’ve got the right policy in future.”

Other fears expressed by farmers revolve around tariffs on food.

The axing of tariffs is supported by many Brexiteers. But the NFU President Meurig Raymond has said that British farming would be severely damaged as cheaper imports are allowed in, while British exports remain subject to high tariffs abroad.

Mr Gove said: “Our produce is world renowned for its quality and I’m confident that we’ll not just be able to retain tariff-free access to the European market but also forge new trade deals with other countries.”

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