Brexit: Critical time ahead for Shropshire's farmers
Farmers in Shropshire are facing a "critical" time as the UK leaves the European Union, it was warned today.
Months of uncertainty and delay over Brexit will come to a head tonight as the chimes of Big Ben ring out in Parliament Square and the UK officially leaves the EU.
The UK will enter a transition period where the Government will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU.
Last month, Chancellor Sajid Javid announced he had earmarked £3 billion to spend on farmers to help them 'thrive' after Brexit.
Farmers across the county now have a clearer idea of what Brexit will bring and can plan their programme of work.
The Government's cash, to be spread over two years, will be used to support farmers as the UK leaves the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) direct payments scheme next year.
The CAP is an EU policy that provides financial support to farmers in member states. The direct payments scheme forms the majority of spending under the CAP and provides subsidies to farmers based on the area of land under management.
Oliver Cartwright, NFU spokesman for Shropshire, said: “The general election result and the government’s actions to drive forward with Brexit and the Agriculture Bill, gives us much needed clarity of direction and a clear agenda to work to.
“We have to deal with what is in front of us and there is much to be done, we now enter an 11-month implementation period.
“The next phase is arguably the greatest and most critical aspect for Shropshire farmers and those across the country as Government will be agreeing the terms of the future relationship between the UK and the EU – there’s also the prospect of the UK Government conducting concurrent trade negotiations with the US and others.
“EU trade remains of great importance to our farms and while there is still uncertainty at least now there is more time to get the right deal done.
“Farmers across the country will still want to see legislation underpinning the Government’s assurances that they will not allow the imports of food produced to standards that would be illegal here through future trade deals.
“We will continue to press Government to introduce a standards commission as a matter of priority to oversee and advise on future food trade policy and negotiations.”