There is some truth that the weather was partly to how is Brexit to blame? 

June 2023

The LSE CEP researchers calculate that without Brexit, food prices would be 30% lower since 2019 

April 2024 Reality of farming after Brexit.
"Many of the farmers we met felt that they were being pushed away from their traditional role as producers.

As one farmer put it: “If you’re taking productive land out of production for your tree planting or diversification of whatever kind, then where’s our food coming from?

"Britain has long relied on imported EU fruit and veg during the winter. But since Brexit produce has been having a hard time making it from the EU without long delays and queues at ports, as shown by the noticeably shorter shelf lives lately." More

Telegraph 23 Feb 2023

Watch it deer!

Here is one we did not expect!  Deer are overrunning the countryside - because of Brexit, and a bit of Covid. Our old French and German markets for venison have dried up. So venison prices low - made into dog food it sells better. So nobody bothering to catch wild ones.

East Lancashire hospitals now put venison  from local Bowland farms on menu

Coffey's 'Let them eat turnips' is biitersweet, as her local turnip grower shuts down

New checks, coming in Jan 2022 "New customs checks will make imports more expensive and slower" says Cold Chain Federation. "Britain’s small businesses should expect trade with the EU to be “permanently damaged” from 1 January, the refrigerated supply chain trade body has said, after new customs checks take effect that it says will make imports from the bloc “more expensive, less flexible and much slower.. food imports could face the same 70% decline that affected exports of food by small businesses " “The big casualty of these trade barriers is the business that needs to import small and frequent quantities across borders – a pallet load of speciality cheeses or boxes of onion powder.. there has been little progress on cutting red tape."

Return of crowns to pint glasses on Johnson list of the “key successes” of Brexit this year. 

Food Bills up £6 BILLION in 2 years because of Brexit "The cost of food imported from the EU shot up because of extra red tape, adding £210 to the average household food bills over 2020 and 2021, London School of Economics (LSE) researchers discovered. As low-income families spend a greater share of their income on food, the impact of Brexit on their purchases was disproportionately greater, they said."

LSE Dec 22 Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and consumer prices: evidence from Brexit  explores "the Brexit trade policy shock to quantify how NTBs affect consumer prices and welfare. The increase in NTBs raised food prices by 6%".  

Disaster Charity, used to dealing with earthquakes, is paid £180,000 to look after post-Brexit drivers queing in Dover. The charity was brought in as the council warned pandemic lockdowns had masked the true severity of hold-ups caused by Brexit – with up to 50 days of gridlock now expected every year on motorways leading to Dover. 

The rotten state of Brexit for the food industry "The food and agriculture sectors are stuck chewing through an increasingly turgid Brexit menu: outdated and unappetising, but thoroughly predictable." 

Post Brexit  turmoil strains farmers' ties to Tories "Labour shortages, trade deals and slow rollout of changes to financial support sends relations to lowest ebb in decades" 

Long Awaited Food Strategy promises to put food security at the heart of our strategy A lot of good sounding stuff throw into the air, but little comes back down to ground.

Food costs increase by 6% due to Brexit "Brexit-related trade barriers have driven a 6% increase in U.K. food prices ... Inflation for food products Britain tends to import from the European Union, like fresh pork, tomatoes and jam, was more pronounced than things like tuna and exotic fruits that come from other nations, according to the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance. The study covered two years to the end of 2021 and attempted to strip out the effect of the pandemic. "

Brexit drives rise in food prices and cost of living "Brexit-related trade barriers have driven a 6% increase in U.K. food prices, adding to a squeeze on consumer spending power, according to a new report. "

BBC Edits out any mention of Brexit - AGAIN when talking about food shortages. "An interview with NFU Scotland president was conveniently edited so there was no mention of the 'B' word in the dispatch. It’s not the first time the BBC has been caught editing out Brexit from their news bulletins. Last year a trader in Manchester appeared on the channel bemoaning the rapid price increases of fish in the aftermath of the UK’s split from the EU. The clip aired on BBC later that evening any mention of Brexit had been edited out! 

Looking to 2022 Stutt & Parker identify 8 Key trends -BPS reductions, new schemes, lump sum exit, environmental protection, carbon trading, letting property, electricity and Corporate involvement. Summary; there are 'opportunities' for big landowners, while small famers face the biggest 'challenges'.

Farmers protest against 'broken promises' Save British Farming (SBF) will host the rally and demonstration next week to warn the public that the government is "doing all it can to make farming in Britain unviable". 

My podcast March 21

'Control our borders' Controls on Food Imports from EU to UK  put off -  again

The need for health certificates on imports such as meat and milk will be pushed back to October. In-person inspections on such animal products due July now January 2022.

Brexit Trade Deals Devastate UK Farmers

Food Exporters to EU set to permanently cut ties due to Brexit

Millions of cabbages thrown away

Only one in four small businesses ready for new border checks coming in 2022. Companies will "have to make declarations and pay relevant tariffs at the point of import. Notice of imports of food, drink and products of animal origin will also be needed to be given in advance." This is because we come out of the Customs Union then.

Britain's fruit & veg growers cut 2022 planting after widespread waste.
Fruit (< 20%) veg (40%) proportion of UK consumption will get lower as imports expected to replace. 

Minette Batters: "Got to look at whole chain"

Marks & Spencer blames Brexit as it closes 11 French stores  because of problems supplying them with fresh and chilled foods. "The supply chain complexities in place following the UK's exit from the European Union now make it near impossible for us to serve fresh and chilled products to customers to the high standards they expect, resulting in an ongoing impact to the performance of our business.

"With no workable alternative for the High Street stores, we have agreed with SFH to close all 11 franchised stores."

Customs Expert believes "delayed bureaucratic customs laws will lead to meats, fruit and vegetables from the EU being too costly to import"

£320 worth of tomatoes trashed at Thanet Earth #. Local MP Sir Roger Gale in parliament: “On this 'Back British Farming Day' we are at harvest time but all is not safely gathered in. In three weeks Thanet Earth, one of the largest glasshouse companies in the country (CC..£107m/yr profit) has had to trash £320,000 worth of produce because there are no pickers and no drivers, because of a lack of labour force. The crops are rotting in our fields and on our trees.” He asked for a 'covid recovery visa'- I think he meant Brexit visa. Gale asking PM in parliament
Food Price hike warning as farm labour crisis worsens. "Government only interested in solutions not hearing about Brexit" 

Delivering the promised sunlit upland of milk and honey - and bendy bananas

'The Deal announced Dec 24 2020

Food scarcity fears prompt easing of checks on EU imports

Food Shortages looming 

Food shortages likely to get worse in October

Chickens come home to roost as Nandos and KFC are running out of chickens

Tesco products withdrawn from Finland to be replaced by Carrefour

The first hundred days “There’s so much complexity. It’s like an onion. The more you peel, the more you cry.” 

Agri-food Indicators finish in 2016

@Tesco are using pictures to cover up the fact that exotic fruit (From Europe) is no longer available. 

Poultry magnate warns UK ‘crisis point’ means ‘worst food shortages since war

2 Sisters warns of worst food shortages in 75 years

M&S warns of new food supplies threat as Brexit rules change in October.

"Time of nearly all goods being freely available had gone" The farm to fork supply chain - which transports local, high quality, organic and seasonal produce - was missing around half a million of the four million people that usually worked in the sector, according to Mr Wright. 

'20-yr binge on cheap food is over' says Chicken King "The days when you could feed a family of four with a 3 pound ($4) chicken are coming to an end. "Less labour means less choice, core ranges, empty shelves and wage inflation, and this isn’t going to change," he said. "Right now I need to be honest about what this means for the consumer as inflation could reach double digits.” 

Land prices going up. "One of the factors behind this is the wide range of buyers currently looking for land, with farmers, private investors, lifestyle buyers and green investors all in the mix.” 

US to accept British lamb for first time since 1989 This reflects government's interest in farming - to encourage exports. Not to reduce imports.


Government says polluters can dump sewage in rivers - previously banned by EU and due to shortage of chemicals from the EU post Brexit. The Environment Agency said "that companies struggling to obtain the required chemicals would be allowed to 'discharge effluent without fulfilling the conditions' of their permits, which usually require water to be treated through a multi-step process. "

Shortage of ferric sulphate, caused since Brexit by delayed delivery, led to waiver by government for sewage companies to follow third stage. These 'temporary' measures may last till the end of the year - or longer.

Rivers Trust map of sewage dumps

Majority of MPs vote to dump sewage - list of MPS who voted for it

Only 22 Conservatives voted for Duke of Wellington's amendment to make it harder for sewage companies to dump raw sewage

Backlash "What sort of person votes to allow water companies to pump raw sewage into our water?"

Proposed law to make water companies reduce adverse impacts of discharges from storm overflows. 

Retailers and importers fear post-Brexit border checks are going to increase the price of food over the coming months. Customs declarations, " Sanitary checks and increases in container costs are already causing problems for UK exports to the EU,"

Food Exporters have been putting band aids on bullet wounds, but will cease exporting to EU soon. "The fact is this is EU legislation. It’s the rules. That’s now sinking in and companies are starting to change their business models.” 

17% rise in food prices: Ian Wright, of the Food and Drink Federation, says Brexit costs and obstructions have sent commodity prices soaring, and those are now working their way on to the shelves. 

Wetherspoons - who printed 200,000 beer mats seeking customers to 'take back control't  - is going short of several beers due to driver shortages.

Martin told The Daily Telegraph: “The UK has a low birth rate. A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country. 

Increased demand from non-EU countries saw other exports increase by 20,029t (up 19.5%). However, it was not enough to offset the reduction in volume from EU buyers, which fell by 35%.

Sausage War

Sausages are not being allowed in to Northern Ireland!  The British government is acting like this is an outrage – but it has been there in black and white in the deal all along. NI would stay in the Single Market when the rest of Britain came out, but there was a 'transition period', that is coming to an end - at the end of June. This border issue is there because the UK insisted on refusing to align with EU food hygiene standards.
They always knew this was coming.  Theresa May's former chief of staff Gavin Barwell put it, "They knew it was a bad deal but agreed it to get Brexit done, intending to wriggle out of it later". So the EU made sure to build in protections with teeth for when that happened.

Food & Drink Exports to EU drop by 75% in first month after Brexit "Salmon and beef exports were particularly badly hit, slumping by 98% and 91% respectively, while whisky exports dropped from £105.4 million to £38.9 million, a 63% fall. Overall, the fishing sector recorded a 79% slump in exports from £25.2 million to £5.3 million. The FDF said that much of this is likely due to the non-tariff barriers faced by UK exporters and the collapse of groupage movements which has shut out many SME exporters.”  F&D Exports to EU in February down  26% - an 80% improvement over January.

EU set up £5b fund  (£1b for Ireland) to cope with Brexit, which includes, assistance to businesses and fishing communities; short-term work schemes and retraining programmes; border, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary checks.

Talking of Bananas, £100,000 of tariffs have been slapped on Fairtrade bananas threatening African farmers with ruin. Liz Truss is under pressure to explain why punishing levies being charged - despite announcement that UK-Ghana deal was struck. The explanation is that the EU gives preferential 'tax-free' quotas to many ACP (African Caribbean Pacific - ie 'old Commonwealth) countries on sugar cane and banana imports - at the request of the UK. Clearly we have not continued that favour. More on sugar cane tariffs

Slurry tanker - full of liquid cow dung - ready to spread over fields. How about Whitehall instead?

Four years of Brexit promises. Have they been kept?
Farmers Guardian  says::

*The maintenance of subsidies has not been kept.

*Payment rates for environmental schemes is 'as yet unknown'

*The no-deal that BJ said was 'a million to one against' is more likely than ever,  

*Maintaining devolved agric policy is not guaranteed.

How Britain's food problems converged at Christmas

Germans airlifting food to Aldi Co-op

Crisis or Opportunity

Pig meat prices plummet due to delayed exports., and increased cheap imports

Meat Lorries stuck in Rotterdam "Tonnes of rotting meat is stuck at European ports as a result of "eye-watering" post-Brexit paperwork, " Sustained and serious losses

Long term export trade could end "BMPA CEO Nick Allen said the government’s current paper-based system was “a relic from the last century and simply not fit for purpose. It was never designed to cope with the kind of integrated, just-in-time supply chain we have built up over the last 40 years, and if not fixed quickly it will be the thing that starts to dismantle the European trade British companies have fought so hard to win."

Lidl boss says trade is not frictionless, but doing OK -but worried about changes in July.

PM Johnson said in his speech, explaining his 'deal', that would be 'there will be no non-tariff barriers to trade''. He either did not understand how the Single Market works with its many (Non tariff) standards, in which case he is unfit to govern. Or he did know, and was lying. 'Non-tariff' (ie. those that do not involve tax) barriers are a crucial - complex - element of all trade between UK and EU. These are to do with health and safety of food - usually called SPS  along with 'Country of origin', and are all sanctioned by WTO. No wonder so many companies - often the small ones - are suffering to import/export their goods.

Select committee told by retailers that Brexit 'pretty unworkable'

Long Queues "a photo showing a long line of hauliers at the Waterbrook Park facility in Ashford proves the government "isn't fully prepared" for disruption in Kent". 

Lorry driver crossing the Gibraltar/Spain border has bottle of Nando’s sauce confiscated,  

Cheshire cheesemaker says business left with £250,000 'Brexit hole'  

"He thought he was fully prepared for Brexit and had consulted with Defra and the NFU along the way. He knew he would need customs declarations and health certificates signed off by vets to get his cheese into the EU after 1 January, and has successfully been getting pallets of the product across the Channel to wholesale customers. But what he had not anticipated was the requirement for health certificates to accompany online orders from private customers." This is an example of 'non-tariff' barrier, which PM incorrectly said did not exist.

One of Wales largest lamb exporters says: "the extra cost and paperwork of selling meat into the EU means it is making "virtually nothing". Meat processing plant Randall Parker Foods in Llanidloes, Powys, warned it may lose a third of its 150 workers unless new border controls change. Er Border controls are not going to change - that is whole point of Single Market, which we chose to leave.

Wine from Europe will cost more, with less choice "Importers said the cost of new customs declarations combined with higher haulage prices would hit UK drinks in the pocket – while flat-rate costs per shipment would push wholesalers to offer a narrower variety of wine. We are looking at a totally avoidable increase in the cost of wine across the board,” Jason Millar, a director at wholesaler Theatre of Wine.

142,000 tonnes of food could be wasted in first six months - government estimates!

Unmitigated Disaster

The chief executive of the Scottish food and drink federation told a parliamentary committee last week: “The biggest single challenge we have right now is denial; denial from the UK government in particular on the scale of the problem. " (Gove compares to gin&tonic & peanuts:2.30 mins in))


Ham Sandwich 

"We're taking your ham sandwich. Welcome to Brexit" sums it up perfectly. Some will see it as petty, when it goes to the heart of what we have just left. These are all to do with 'non-tariff' barriers, wot the PM said just a few weeks ago were not a barrier. you can see why many people believed that a 'non-tariff' barrier was the same a 'no barrier. But they are so wrong. And this is where the words start to dazzle.  'Non tariff' barriers - are there to protect the Single Market  -   but have to be measures that comply with sanitary &  phytosanitary (SPS) standards - in WTO speak. These stop Indian basmati coming in with fungicide residues. or ....from China. So we have to prove our exports to EU comply every trip. 

Back to the ham. We would have to prove that the pigs were reared in proper conditions, and that requires a vets' signature somewhere down the line. We need more vets as most came from Portugal.  And we have to show that the flour in the bread has come mainly from Britain. Under 'country of origin rules' - used to avoid paying tax - we have to prove is is British, and not half Canadian - as a lot of our flour is.

100,000 pigs caught up in Brexit. The UK pig industry has asked the government for help after Brexit-related border problems and an influx of cheap European meat led to more than 100,000 surplus pigs backed up on farms around the country.  
This "has resulted partly from the UK phasing in customs requirements for EU imports over six months, a grace period that the EU has not reciprocated. "

Live Farm Exports at Standstill

No cattle sheep or goats are being exported. That’s because there are no border control posts [BCPs] for them at EU mainland ports.” 

In 2019 a combined 31,000 cattle, sheep and goats were exported from the UK to the EU mainland. mainly for breeding, worth 20-30m

“We flagged [the BCP issue] with Defra [the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] last year in June or July. But they basically said it was our problem,” 

Marks & Sparks food in Paris, popular with expats & with some kind of chic appeal to Parisians, cannot now sell its sandwiches, tea, crumpets as fresh food isn't allowed to cross the Channel after Brexit.  The great M and S Post-Brexit sandwich famine of 2021. Sign in the Marks and Spencer at Porte Maillot in Paris today. "Because of new govt regulations on trade between the UK and "Let them eat cake" as Liz Truss said.
Any product such as meat, dairy or eggs that derives from animals needs a veterinary certificate stating that it conforms to EU regulations, in addition to the extra customs documentation that all imports into the EU now require. We import most of our egg products from India, Albania and other countries which have extremely cruel and low standards of hen welfare - caged chickens [with 1 x A4 sized square per hen] and very low hygiene standards. Our producers meanwhile have to conform to the higher 'Lion' standard which makes them less competitive. India is one of our top listed countries for a major trade deal. UK supermarkets are signed up to not buying battery/intensive produced eggs by 2025 but they will can buy and -  therefore import - massive amounts of poor welfare egg products through processed food.   Egg imports - and exports - down since Brexit.

Egg industry facing huge costs after new Brexit border rules prevent exports of some products. "Unlike deliveries of other animal products, which now require Export Health Certificates and have experienced delays, lorry-loads of melange have been simply refused at the border with the EU. Day old chicks are usually shipped to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where there are no pullet hatcheries, but EU rules now require chicks to be transported in “disposable packaging” rather than the plastic crates they would previously have been transported in"


my little brewery used to have a nice business line in shipping our uncommonly good beer to fulfil individual orders from Ireland (north and south).  Wonder why?   We loved the direct contact and we had hopes of doing more and more of this.  All of the benefit coming back to Melton.  Now we don’t - the costs of transport and paperwork have this week spiralled out of control and for now we’ve had to disable the ability of people in Ireland (north and south) to order beer directly from us.  

Belgium-based Beer On Web, said it was now shunning the UK "due to the new Brexit measures".

The company is angry because they now face higher costs and increased bureaucracy in order to comply with UK tax authorities.

Brexit will ban British sausage-makers exporting bangers to the EU

Updated government guidance says UK producers will not be allowed to export "chilled meat preparations" to Europe from January 1 under the wider Brexit trade deal. List of banned meats

There may soon be other foods where UK versions will not be accepted. 'Chocolate' & 'ice cream' come to mind, as the UK contested EU definitions of each for many years.

Inland Border @ Warrington 

There will be a new customs check where Shearings used to be @ Lymm. "Some freight from Ireland will use the "inland border" in Warrington when the EU exit transition period ends. Warrington Borough Council chief executive Steven Broomhead said the government should spend £2.5m improving the roads to avoid "gridlock".

This is the border that BJ said in August he would allow in the Irish Sea “over my dead body” .

Johnson's government tells shops to stock up with food -mid Dec. "The UK could experience shortages of vegetables and other goods it sources heavily from Europe for months to come" "We're not going to see shelves running bare or any of the scaremongering stories we've heard," Raab told Times Radio. "

British ports and freight companies are already reporting long delays and tailbacks on either side of the English Channel due to companies stockpiling supplies ahead of Britain's exit from the Brexit transition period. 

Lorry drivers banned for taking ham sandwiches to EU Regulations on biosecurity and other issues will affect hauliers from 1 January. This ban which will also apply to tourists travelling to the EU.  This is a result of coming out of the Single Market 

Lorry drivers will be banned from taking a ham and cheese sandwich or other meat and dairy products from the UK into the EU from 1 January, even if it is just to eat while driving, UK government officials have said. 

"Nobody wants to come. Nobody" says Geb Boito Head of Bucci Freight."It's a nightmare at the moment" Delays are particularly worrying for those with perishable goods - like fresh vegetables, and hauliers charging £7k instead of £2k journey,
Lorry queues Dec 19 as companies 'stockpile' ready for Brexit. Not so easy to 'stockpile' fresh food.The tractor [the cab of the trailer] is basically their home from home. They  have microwaves, the works, so that if they do get stuck, or if they are away for a week if they are going somewhere like Spain, they are self-sufficient.” 

Food Prices

Research from the SHEFS consortium (Dec) has found that "the average British family risks paying 4% more for their fruit and vegetables from January 1st 2021 should the UK leave the EU without a deal, compared with a 0.6% increase that would occur under a free trade agreement. The effect of currency volatility will also be a factor especially in the event of no deal since food and drink is mostly traded in dollars or euros. Ministers, however, have played down fears over the extent of food prices and shortages of certain products." Footprint 

Food prices will rise as a result of Brexit - according to 'The Grocer'.  

Will food be more expensive?  BBC

"With less than five months to go there are still so few discussions between retailers and suppliers on how the burden of customs and tariffs will be shared – subsumed, no doubt, by Covid-19. But price hikes are the harsh reality of leaving the EU. Supermarkets may be loath to place the burden on shoppers, and perhaps they are building up a war chest to mitigate these extra costs. But in the midst of a recession, supermarkets will have to suck those costs up. Whether they pass them on is up to them."

Tesco chief warns of food shortages 

Tesco’s chairman John Allan has warned of short-term fresh food shortages for up to “a few months” after the Brexit transition period ends in January. “We can’t rule out the possibility that if there is dislocation at the ports of entry to the UK there will be some shortages of some items of fresh food, at least for a time,”  warehouse space is now running out across the country as businesses build stock ahead of Christmas and a coronavirus second wave....warehouse space is now running out across the country as businesses build stock ahead of Christmas and a coronavirus second wave. "

Shoppers warned of £3.1B food bill. The BRC said retailers would have 'nowhere to go other than to raise the price of food' to mitigate the trade tariffs if there is no deal before Christmas

Food price rises unless government negotiates tariff free arrangement according to Morrisons

Big crunch coming "Britons are Europeans and trying to reinvent us as wannabe Americans will doom the Brexit Tory party."

New Tory divide opening up - Waitrose or Lidl? But it’s not about which supermarket you shop at. It’s how you view a a potential US trade deal - between the old 'blue rural' seats, looking after farms and the new 'red wall town' ones wanting even cheaper food.

Food prices to rise with no deal "farm groups cautiously welcomed the new tariffs put forward by Ministers, which protect key agricultural products such as lamb, beef, poultry, cheese and butter. 

The rates were worked up on the assumption that tariff-free trade will continue between the UK and EU as a result of a new trade deal, but Dmitry Grozoubinski, founder of the Explain Trade website, has suggested they will need to be changed if no agreement can be reached before the end of this year. If there is no trade deal at the end of transition, then under the newly announced tariffs, about 85 per cent of those traditional EU-sourced imports will face significant tariffs. 


A House of Lords committee has warned agricultural disputes between the UK Government and devolved nations will become ‘increasingly likely’ after Brexit. 

A House of Lords committee has warned agricultural disputes between the UK Government and devolved nations will become ‘increasingly likely’ after Brexit. "In a new report on the Agriculture Bill, peers on the Constitution Committee said trade matters would be particularly prone to clashes because it is unclear whether the UK Government or devolved administrations are legally responsible for such issues. "
Ewing says Scottish farmers should continue to get direct payments after 2024

Northern Ireland

Agri-food - New checks and paperwork will be required on goods moving GB-NI. There are extensive - requiring all products of animal origin to be accompanied by a certificate, documentary checks on all goods, and physical inspections on 30% of certain meat, diary and poultry.

Larger supermarkets are being 'trusted' wiht this stuff, and will the check be carried out at the new port of Warrington?

Supply Chains

“Border Trade Plans unmanageable”

In new IT systems, HM leaked document asks hauliers and other industry groups for help to avoid chaos when the Brexit transition period expires in just four months’ time. Circulated by the Cabinet Office. It lists 13 key risks to be flagged to ministers, including a lack of back-up planning and inadequate time to prepare.

Transport Minister says: Britain 'absolutely confident' will keep supply chains moving, responding to a warning by customs and logistics organisations.

Eustice admits farmers thrown under the tractor George Eustice says a 40 percent tariff on beef exports would be a "good deal" in a No Deal scenario.

Good for Environmentalist but not small farmers "new funding rules for agriculture (Dec 2020) to replace the EU’s CAP following Brexit small tenant farmers and the beef and sheep sectors are set to suffer." What EU's CAP is looking like 2021

The government’s new Environment Land Management (ELM) system has been well received by many , although there is still no indication of how moneies will be allocated. "But tenant farmers and the beef and sheep sectors can be forgiven if they don’t feel overjoyed. The difficulty is that to unlock the top-level funding for environmental projects, under tier 2 and tier 3 of the new ELM system, farmers will need a lot of land, as projects like reforestation or the restoration of wetlands are only feasible on farms of a certain size. The system may therefore reward larger landowners at the expense of smaller farmers, who don’t own their own land and threaten sectors such as livestock who can’t use their land for environmental purposes so easily."
This is ironic - as that was one of main criticisms of previous EU Scheme - that it rewarded lanrger landowners.

Hidden Monster. A fall in the value of the pound - predicted to be 5% with 'no deal'. "While new Brexit-related costs such as customs and potential tariffs should be passed onto supermarkets within days, price hikes due to currency fluctuations can require up to three month". 

There may be wars between retailers and suppliers as to who bears the , as in Marmite war

Johnson accuses EU "British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has accused the European Union of threatening to impose a trade border down the Irish Sea and a food blockade between Britain and Northern Ireland unless the bloc’s terms for a future relationship were agreed"  See Northern Ireland below

Schools "have been told to stock up on longer shelf life products in preparation for a no-deal Brexit, as police chiefs warned that such an outcome would damage their ability to fight crime. "

Farming Minister apologies for uncertainty

No 10's lack of commitment making farmers furious. " Greenpeace uncovered documents earlier this week showing the Food Standards Agency was readying itself for a flood of applications. In the absence of legal status for UK standards, those applications will be decided behind closed doors. " Government response:

“We are a world leader in these areas, and that will not change. Chlorinated chicken and hormone-injected beef are not permitted for import into the UK. This will be retained through the EU Withdrawal Act and enshrined in UK law at the end of the transition period.” "Labour senses amid the outcry a rare opportunity to force rural, predominantly pro-Brexit voters to question whether the Tory government is acting in their interests. The party knows that “there is no route [to electoral victory] that does not go through rural areas”, said Luke Pollard, the shadow environment secretary, pointing out that Labour won 170 rural constituencies in 1997 but held only 17 of them in 2019". 


First disaster of 2021 - Food Shortage?  "The UK relies on fresh produce from mainland Europe. But port logjams loom, and we appear to have run out of storage space"

Government going for 'Australia' like deal..not now 'Canadian, as EU say 'no' to that. Basically EU were not going to agree Canadian like deal, as UK much closer to EU than Canada. 'Australia deal' -  heard for first time today, is basically  just  WTO rules.

Businesses concerned there is not enough time for re-labelling (Sept '20). 

Truss raises the prospect of smuggling from the EU, because the U.K. will not be imposing full customs controls on EU imports for the first six months of 2021. She also discusses the risk of a legal challenge at the World Trade Organization, because the U.K. would be offering preferential treatment to the EU that discriminates against the rest of the world. 

UK backtracks on full border checks at end of 2020 

"Ministers have now abandoned plans for full checks, with sources saying a "pragmatic and flexible approach" was needed due to coronavirus." This may mean less stringent SPS checks on food imports from EU.  "Officials concede that goods flowing to the EU from the UK are likely to face full checks as they enter France. UK Heading for shortages worse than Covid because of Brexit 'No Deal'.
The Director of BRC said that they had had no trouble with moving food across borders, and that Italy had actually increased pasta to help. But we will 'have a bit of a problem' with disruption at the borders, and not enough food to move round the country. It was notable - but virtually unnoticed by commentators, that the borders between UK and EU were free during coronavirus - and they did not have to be as we had formally left the EU - and its standards, which are not negotiable.

'Getting Brexit Done' or NOT. "Brexit planning has fallen off a cliff," said Peter Hardwick, a trade policy adviser at the British Meat Processors Association. "All operational staff at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have been diverted to Covid-19 work." Since Mid March ""There's no time, energy, money or interest at the moment to focus on Brexit." 

Truss n Trade

The invisible hand of the market wont protect our food or fields

Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation

which represents companies specialising in the distribution of chilled goods, said the 'flexible approach' would be “reassuring” to importers but could only be a short-term measure given the risks involved. “It has been clear for months now that the only way to avoid traffic chaos is for the UK not to impose import controls on food goods entering the UK from the EU,...But it is a damning indictment of the UK’s strategic planning that the only workable way to control our food imports post-Brexit will be to not control them.”  
Horticulture to be hit "The UK’s love of horticulture has grown during the coronavirus pandemic, but avid gardeners are being warned of a Brexit shock, with rising prices, potential plant shortages and even the need for plant inspectors at nurseries. "

£2.6bn in agrifood produced in NI goes to GB, and 60% of that transits through Dublin Port. "It’s a cyclical, circular, integrated supply chain across these islands"@tconnellyRTE Examples include the production of a cottage pie, which will have 9 north-south-east-west border crossings, and Baileys Irish Cream which has 5 such border crossings. "If that [model] is removed it means means delays, less choice, less freshness."  This exact lasagne/cottage pie ingredient/border problem on @lbc to @clivebull about 18 months ago, phone-in about #Stockpiling, but he completely disregarded it. 

First prediction to come true

The Govt announced it's tariff policy from Jan 1st 2021. Some commentators noted that there would be no tariffs for a few 'ingredients for cooking' quoting the phasing out of tariffs on baking powder, yeast and cocoa powder. The ONLY agricultural allocation of tariff free quota in the whole schedule is for... cane sugar. "A straightforward subsidy to Tate & Lyle" says Chair of the ACP/LDC sugar group. Does new UK tariff policy mean cheaper sugar? The UK's new tariff policy is due to come into effect on 1 January, here's what it means for the sugar industry  More in The Grocer. Tate & Lyle Sugars now belongs to American Sugar Refining Group. since 2010. Sugar goings on    Tate & Smile


CLA "The creation of Environmental Land Management Schemes – long championed by the CLA – is a welcome step forward for the natural environment.  But with less than a year to go before the transition towards the new regime begins, we still do not have enough information as to how it will work in practice.  This is deeply unsettling "

Economist "Farmers right to fret" "Some Tories believe that escaping the ludicrously lavish and protectionist CAP is among the biggest benefits of leaving the EU".

Mine There should be cap on any payments over £150k (similar to that suggested by Poland during its presidency of EU in 2010) and subsidies saved here go to smaller farmers, more dependent on them. The 'savings' in reduction' being re-invested on good things (eg ELMS) is going to be very difficult and take time to establish..but more importantly should be an addition to the subsidies - not substitute. Oh - and the EU is doing much the same.

Government Stewardship Schemes could fill the funding gap "Signing up for new stewardship agreements and setting up additional enterprises through diversification could be key to helping farmers bridge a subsidy funding gap from the UK government "

'We've been shafted' 

"At the annual conference of the National Farmers' Union in early March, George Eustice, the new secretary of state in the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) - the unfortunate fall-guy for a back-sliding government - was booed by delegates when he failed to provide reassurances on future trade deals which might lead to cheaper food imports from countries."..delegates wanted Boris Johnson's government to back an NFU-inspired Lords amendment to the new agriculture bill, imposing tough standards on food imports. 'I can't provide any such assurances'"  They had every right to boo


The "Strutt and Parker research shows net profit for the average English farmer will fall by half over the next 10 years, even if environmental payments double. There are concerns that the money available as part of the new schemes will not plug the gap left by withdrawal of direct support." More in Farmers Guardian

EU subsidy loss could wipe out could wipe out farms.  "National Audit Office said farmers had been left unable to plan for the future and the main farming union called for "cast-iron commitments" from the government. 

German farmers in protest over two aspects of EU policy - 'too much red tape' (Single Market) but 'not enough reward' (Customs Union)

Brexit - What next? Food & Agriculture by Tim Lang p9

How can farmers survive it "One big stumbling block for UK farmers is that - unlike on the continent - they had failed to fully embrace the co-operative model which brought all the benefits of pooling resources."

House of Commons summary

Tax (Customs Union) border = bright redRegulation check (Single Market) = BlueDeep red = both

Morrisons renames Brussels Sprouts Lincolnshire / Yorkshire / Scottish sprouts. 

Morrisons said it was not to with Brexit, but others said that's why people voted Brexit.

Software wont be ready

Vital software needed to keep goods flowing after Brexit won’t be ready in time because the U.K. government has not given developers the information they need, according to the trade group Association of Freight Software Suppliers,

Where the King took powers to decide matters, rather than for parliament, is re-appearing big style. 'We are finding out what 'Take Back Control' means. Johnson, Gove and Cummings have taken control from Brussels and keeping it for themselves. Witness the introduction of the quota for tax free raw sugar. The Henry 8th powers, or more arcanely known as statutory instruments, are orders allowing ministers to change the law by decree. The peers have discovered many new bills are littered with these powers – 40 in the Agriculture bill alone. Worries that these would appear in Trade Bill were put aside 2 years ago, but are rearing their head again. 

The Labour Party tried to block the Agriculture Bill’s passage through Parliament because it does not include measures to protect farmers from being undercut by low-standard imports. Previous Ag Bill  Agriculture Bill 2020 coming through with some revisions. New provisions in the updated Agriculture Bill. See new 'Agriculture Bill page . NC2 - 'Stop substandard imports' Voted down



(Jan 20) Savid Javid “There will not be alignment, we will not be a ruletaker, we will not be in the single market and we will not be in the customs union – and we will do this by the end of the year.”  He resigned a few weeks later. Meanwhile, in a radio interview with the BBC, Tim Rycroft, of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), contends that the comments sound a “death knell” for frictionless trade, while warning that food price hikes may be expected by the end of the year. British Retail Consortium speaker said "The UK imports half of the food it consumes, most of which from the EU. New tariffs and increased regulatory checks would increase the cost of food for everyone, and it is the Government’s responsibility to prevent this through its negotiations with the EU."  

UK - Minimum legal requirement of enriched cages (750 sq cm) + perch, nest box & litter. 
US - No federal laws on hen welfare; voluntary guidelines suggest cages of 432 sq cm. US US costs = 28% lower. That’s no yolk. 
An early casualty of lower import standards will be egg producers, who will face unparalleled challenges in competing with foreign imports of egg products, dried and liquid, that could be produced to horrifically low animal welfare standards.


The government kept saying we would maintain our standards, like my Tory MP. But they are now saying, we can't. New page -  'Standards' & Stop letting lower food import standards - lost

NFU send 'wheatsheaf' brooches to MPs to support British farmers  including 51 Tories who voted against Amendment on Import Standards

Free Movement

PMQ Jan 15 SNP MP, Dave Doogan (Angus), asked for a review of the temporary visa scheme for agricultural workers because "WESTMINSTER has failed to 'recognise the urgency' of Scotland's need for an adequate supply of seasonal workers for its agri-food industry.

PM replied something along lines that they have already enabled more seasonal workers (Tory Manifesto promised to quadruple migrant workers allowed with Seasonal Agric Workers Scheme - from outside the EU.) He added that their skilled based migrant entry system would do the trick. (Except it wont - as these are NOT skilled workers.)

Border Control

Government announces 'Customs Agency Academy' and says it is

"talking to the freight-forwarding industry about the private sector academy, which has been earmarked for a location in Kent, while government officials said other training agencies could be set up elsewhere. An online customs academy, launched last autumn with government backing, has started providing training courses and industry-recognised qualifications. Coming out of the EU Single Market means we have 'control over our borders'. Brexit started in Eastern England around those areas where much of our vegetables and soft fruit are grown."

Wetherspoon pubs face 'pigs in blankets' shortage due to lack of EU workers (Dec '19). Please stay 

The British Meat Authority 's chief executive, Nick Allen, told the BBC that the bacon is wrapped around sausages by hand, so the shortage of labour means that many pigs have been left without their blankets. Spoons' CEO Tim Martin has been incredibly vocal about his support for Brexit, so the reason behind the shortage has been cause for amusement amongst some diners.Me too



Michael Gove told businesses that trade with Europe "need to prepare for “significant change” with “inevitable” border checks for “almost everybody” who imports from the EU from next year

He warned there would be checks on food and goods of animal origin, plus customs declarations and mandatory safety and security certificates required for all imports" Feb 2020. Previously, we'd heard about border checks on imports/exports: 2016: "Project Fear by remainers", 2017: "BMW won't allow it", 2018: "Frictionless Trade", 2019: "WTO clause x prevents it".

Most countries want to make trade deals with the big three - US, EU or China. None looking good at present. EU wont dash, after way we Brexit from them, we are winding up China, and thus dependent on a US deal. And they know it. 

Most tariffs transferred from EU to UK till end of 2020, See Tariffs

Except certain 'ingredients in cooking' like baking powder and yeast..oh and sugar cane - see 'Tate & Smile

BRC said:  "Government will need to move fast if it intends to provide the necessary infrastructure to carry out full border controls on imported goods from January 2021.
"Without the necessary infrastructure up and running from day one, consumers in the UK will see significant disruption, particularly in the availability of fresh fruit and vegetables."

No Deal

'No Deal' looked likely until last minute, voted through with no scrutiny  

The Tories won an election in December 2019 claiming there was an 'Oven ready Deal'  

Truss' philosophy

Speech to WTO. "The UK is and always will be, an open, liberal, outward looking nation. We are the home of Adam Smith and his ‘invisible hand’.

……. of David Ricardo and his theory of comparative advantage…

….of the abolition of the Corn Laws, seeing ports like Liverpool, Glasgow and Teesside flourish with new commerce, trading cheaper goods more efficiently, and overcoming the objections of vested interests and wealthy land owners to the benefit of the majority and levelling up Britain in the 19th century.

...I am proud of the UK’s record in pioneering, firstly, the liberalisation of agricultural tariffs with the abolition of the Corn Laws " More on Truss Trade & Tariffs

Truss pledges to fight 'unfair' US tariffs on whisky.  The government said it would step up demands for the United States to drop tariffs on goods such as single malt Scotch whisky.

Free traders should stop pretending they are living in era of Corn Laws

"If the plan now is for trade deals with low cost exporters to replace subsidies as the way to keep food cheap, then the trade-off is reduced production standards with higher externalities."  These are the cost of wearing out soil, extracting too much water, pollution, poor animal welfare, unethical labour practices, lost habitats and a massive carbon footprint - abroad, out of sight and out of mind overseas. 

NFU Brexit director Nick von Westenholz says “It will be enormously challenging to reach an agreement (with EU) by the end of 2020, but ... it can be done. “Nevertheless, putting a hard deadline of just over a year for the end of these negotiations once again raises the prospect of trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms if agreement cannot be reached....That would mean huge tariffs being imposed from January 2021 on much of the food we sell into the EU, as well as other checks and delays which will mean increased costs for food and farming businesses.”
The Conservative manifesto promises deals would be negotiated with the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in the next three years. is unlikely any will complete while negotiations with EU are outstanding. Many farmers have major concerns that agricultural, environmental and animal welfare standards could be undermined in the pursuit of these agreements. In the last Parliament, the Conservatives refused to commit to protecting these standards in law. You cannot protect standards by law - they are much broader than strict regulations that are only enforced by inspectors. 
See my chat with one of key Tories - my MP. 

Lords attempt (July '20) to ban live exports frustrated by complications over Northern Ireland

"The Government is ‘actively considering’ how it would take forward its manifesto pledge to control live exports"
'Drop in the ocean' "While the government’s last-minute £200m investment in the so-called Trader Support Service has been welcomed as a solution to the Northern Ireland border, it’s a drop in the ocean versus the extra costs of Brexit. Customs bills alone are expected to cost £7bn each year"



The Committee on Climate Change (Jan 20) outlined five objectives that the government should consider post Brexit:

Increase tree planting – increasing UK forestry cover from 13-17% by planting 30,000 hectares of trees.Encourage low-carbon farming, such as controlled fertiliser use.Restore peatlands.Encourage bio-energy crops.Reduce food waste.

Government response to the CCC objectives

1. According to Woodland Trust government planted just over 2000 ha in England in 2019

Where the tees are being planted

Animal Welfare 

Eustice says we will ban live animal exports.  A High Court overturned a ban by Kent stopping live exports following having to put down a lorry load of lame sheep, saying it was against EU free trade rules. The EU allows live exports.Only a few thousand of the millions of animals bred for meat in the UK end up being shipped to Europe for slaughter. He has been accused of ‘missing the point’ on slaughterhouse investment, after he suggested no local abattoir network policy was needed to accommodate Government plans for shorter livestock journeys.  Many of uss want to maintain smaller local abbatoirs in order to reduce distance for animals to travel..


"Britain is to close its borders to unskilled workers and those who can’t speak English as part of a fundamental overhaul of immigration laws that will end the era of cheap EU labour in factories, warehouses, hotels and restaurants"...and farms of course.

Responses: NFU Abi Kay Ironic government wants us to eat more fruit n veg but making it harder to be produced here.

The new Environment Secretary used to say about these proposals in 2019 was a fierce critic of the Home Office proposals when he claimed that it does not think about the waitresses serving coffee, the cleaners working late, the care worker helping grandparents, or the farm worker putting fresh vegetables on the table.  


70% of workers in abattoirs are EU migrant workers. George Eustice on TV said that it was only since 2004 that we had such a dependence of foreign workers.  Many abattoir vets are from Portugal, and many processors Polish. Only 50 of  the 245 abattoirs are large enough to warrant automation. The loss of small abattoirs will be disastrous for all the smaller farms wanting to provide 'locally' with small herds/flocks having to transport much further, increasing welfare risks.


Workers' Rights are NOT in Johnson's Withdrawal Bill. The government says regulations will be introduced later. Regulations not Rights - what is the difference? 
At present, any challenge against the interpretation of many of these EU Right goes to High Court with possible appeal to EU Court. Now employers will go to Junior Judges who would use government guidelines to interpret the case. MoreWhile we have had laws relating with equal pay maternity and paternity leave, and health & safety matters, we been pulled into line on occasions. Why are these 'rights not in the Withdrawal Bill - as it was promised there by May?
About 2/3 of all UK H&S laws in 10 years of New Labour came from the EU. I represented Unite (and before them TGWU) on HSE for many years, trying to improve the appalling number for fatalities in the sector - the worst by far. It was not helped by HSE stopping surprise inspections, instead using software to try and predict where visit would be most cost effective. It is hard to see how this will improve.

See new Workers' Rights page

Protected Foods

Under EU law, the most common form of ‘protected food name’ status is a Protected Geographical lndication (PGI) given to Whitstable oysters, Melton Mowbray pies and Scotch Whisky along with another 60+ foods. "Withdrawal Agreement should ensure there will be no immediate change. The current EU scheme offering protection spanning the single market should still be accessible to UK food and drink producers throughout the transitional period. Once the transitional period has ended however, any UK-based producers with protected food name status could lose their EU-wide protection." New Food Magazine

Good (ish) News !! Suppliers of products such as Melton Mowbray pork pies and Stilton blue cheese that already benefit from a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) will have their EU registration protected but future PGI applications will have to be made separately to the UK and EU. 

EU planning to strengthen GI  "protects almost 3400 names of specific products –agricultural products and foodstuffs, fishery and aquaculture products wines, spirit drinks and aromatised wine products – under one of its EU quality schemes"

UK introduces PGI for Single Malt Welsh (sic) Whisky under the UK GI  law only. In other words, UK will protect the GI status, but only in UK. Not in EU, nor US.


New Page

Food Waste

The Environment Bill stipulates a consistent set of materials that must be collected from all households and businesses, including food waste to help make services more consistent across the country. The government will mandate weekly collections of food waste for every household, subject to consultation.  

A new amendment (May 2020) to Agriculture Bill for UK to break away from restrictive EU rules for gene editing.

Boris Johnson to ditch EU rules on GM crops. On first day in office, he pledged to abandon European environmental rules that have curtailed development of genetically modified (GM) crop plants and farm animals in the UK, in his first speech as prime minister on Wednesday. " Let’s develop the blight-resistant crops that will feed the world,” Johnson said.  More on GMOs

UK to ditch GM ban to get Trump deal.

According to the withdrawal agreement drafted between the previous prime minister and the EU – the Brexit deal Johnson says is dead in its current form – EU requirements on GM would remain in UK law. Any GM product would continue to require prior authorisation, and this would only be granted if there were no safety concerns. “You need a lawyer, not a molecular geneticist, to judge how [all of this] may be implemented,” said Huw Jones, professor of translational genomics for plant breeding at Aberystwyth University.


Cross Border 

Between England & Wales (as many farm issues 'devolved' - cross border) keeps me awake at night' saying "there were ‘no clear answers’ for how divergence between Welsh and English farming policy should be managed for the hundreds of farms which straddle Offa’s Dyke. "


Several pesticides have been 'banned' by the EU, including neonicotinoids, diquat, thiram and pymetrozine. Crop Protection Association - who are calling for 'managed divergence' say:  "There may be an opportunity with Brexit to move to a more risk-based approach to crop protection...Simply aligning the UK to EU rules would perpetuate known problems, which are likely to deteriorate further without UK participation."

Threat to UK pesticide standards in trade deals. We have probably the highest standards of pesticide control in the world (I used to be on the committee that approved pesticides). As part of the EU, the residue levels of pesticides in food are low, a number have been banned altogether (part of precautionary approach) and the UK goes beyond the EU in requiring only licensed operators to spray. "Trade partners attempting to secure access to the UK market for their food exports have listed UK pesticide standards as a key sticking point and made it clear that weakening them is a priority. " China has certainly made it clear it is a barrier.

Responsible for pesticide residues in food and their control in production, along with GM, Salmonella outbreaks and animal welfare matters. LatestEITHER we set up our own separate agency, at great cost, recruiting the necessary expertise, duplicating work already done and having to get it recognised across the world.OR we ask if we can stay in EFSA anyway, but without a say anymore on how they’re run or the standards they apply.