British voters have spoken and decided after a sometimes acrimonious referendum campaign, that we should leave the EU. The Prime Minister has also decided to call it a day and hand over to someone else in the Autumn.
Predictably the financial markets have reacted negatively with both the pound and stock market falling. Things over the next few months are likely to remain very uncertain, although life will carry on pretty much as normal until we invoke Article 50 and formally register our decision to leave the EU.
In the short term with the weak pound, imports will become more expensive – which if anything will help British farmers and growers.
However many questions will remain for farmers and growers and these may not to be answered for several months, as the Conservative party concentrates on healing divisions and electing a new leader. Among these particularly, are how farmers will be supported when CAP payments cease, and for fruit and vegetable growers – how they can continue to secure sufficient seasonal workers to harvest and pack produce.
On the positive side, in the longer term, as CPA CEO Nick von Westenholz has pointed out, UK farmers now have the opportunity to shape some of the regulations governing the farming sector. Also if trade negotiations do hit difficulties – this is likely to help British farmers and growers – as supermarkets seek to secure sufficient supplies of UK food.
It will be interesting in the longer term to see how other EU nations react to our decision to leave. The EU is facing serious difficulties in several areas. Apart from the refugee crisis these include very high youth unemployment in many member states and huge financial challenges with regards to countries like Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and even France.
Other EU countries are likely to watch the UK’s progress with great interest and if things turn out for us better than some have envisaged, there may be a queue of other countries seeking to join us.
Whatever happens, here at ACT we’ll do our best to keep you informed of what’s going on with lots of industry specific news and comment.