Sheep

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the rearing and sale of lamb and mutton of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what contingency plans his Department has made in relation to sheep that are not sold to the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure his Department will have adequate cold storage facilities available for the storage of sheep meat in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has taken to ensure adequate amounts of animal feed are available to feed sheep that are not sold to the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Jenny Chapman Jenny Chapman Shadow Minister (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he has in place to deal with sheep meat that is not sold into the EU as a result of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

It is in everyone’s interests to secure a good deal with the European Union and that is exactly what we are committed to do. The Government recognises the concerns of stakeholders and is determined to get the best deal for the UK in our negotiations to leave the EU, including for our globally recognised sheep meat.

As a responsible Government it is our duty to prepare for every eventuality, including that of no-deal. Significant work is underway to ensure that UK exporters can maintain access to EU markets. We are confident that we will achieve third country listing with the EU prior to our departure, as we did prior to the April date. This will allow the UK to export to the EU. A no-deal Brexit would mean that goods traded between the EU and the UK will be subject to the same tariffs as goods from third countries.

The UK is the largest producer of sheep and by far the largest exporter of sheep meat in the EU. Around 30% of production is exported, with 95% of these exports going to the EU. The application of high EU tariffs on UK exports of sheep meat will have a substantial negative effect on the income of UK sheep farmers. At Defra, we are doing all we can to mitigate the challenges they face and we have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption. We will be monitoring the market situation closely and My Rt Hon friend, the Secretary of State, has made it clear that we will support our most vulnerable sectors, such as our sheep farmers.

Government has also pledged to continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this parliament, expected in 2022. This includes all funding provided for farm support under both Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the current CAP. This commitment applies to the whole UK.

We are in regular dialogue with the farming unions, processors and allied industries about storage, feed and other supplies in the event of a no deal. These discussions have been constructive and will continue.

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