After two years, the cabinet reached an agreement (July 6) on the UK's possible future relationship with the EU after Brexit. This is being called 'the Plan', 'A proposal' or 'The position' - ie negotiating position that will be presented to the EU. The three page deal published by the government. BBC glance @ planHere are the parts relevant to Food, Farming, Land & Labour (my comments in italics)
InstitutionsWe will come out of the Common Agricultural Policy. That means EU CAP subsidies will stop, and we will replace them with our own, as yet to be decided how and how much. We should have at least £3+Billion, but we always claimed we put more in than got out. So here is the chance to get more, but odds stacked against - some say there should not be any.
We will come out of the Common Fisheries Policy. Government published Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations' July 2018. Introducing it, the PM said "when we leave the EU we will take back control of our waters, while ensuring we don’t see our fishermen unfairly denied access to other waters."
His department is about to get the first of four powerful fishery protection vessels, whose task will be to prevent French, Spanish, Danish and other boats from fishing illegally in UK waters. For more see Fish in Favourite Foods
BUT!! British fishing fleets will face a tough struggle to wring a substantial advantage from Brexit, despite the prime minister’s promises, owing to key concessions in the government’s fishing proposals and the difficulty of persuading other EU member states to give up their current rights in British and shared waters.
There are unlikely to be any gains. We shall see..
Single MarketThe UK will come out of the Single Market, but "maintain a common rulebook for all goods" with the EU, including agricultural products.A treaty will be signed committing the UK to "continued harmonisation" with EU rules. This is intended to avoid friction at the UK-EU border, including Northern Ireland. It raises the issue of what rules will need to be harmonised in relation to food and farming.For more on Single Market
In particular questions will be raised as to whether and which EU rules we follow. Many will be happy to accept sticking close to rules about animal and food standards, but some may want 'to take control' of pesticides and GMOs rules - as some will have voted Brexit for just that reason..
It is for the two above sets of reasons that the Brexiteer Gove is happy to stay in cabinet - and give a wink to T May. He has a good case to roll out a 'green Brexit to support the cause.
Customs UnionWe will leave the Customs Union. Parliament will oversee the UK's trade policy and have the ability to "choose" to diverge from the EU rules, "recognising that this would have consequences".
The 'Facilitated' customs arrangement' suggests ways the borders between the UK and EU will be treated as a "combined customs territory", where the UK would apply domestic tariffs and trade policies for goods intended for the UK, but charge EU tariffs and their equivalents for goods which will end up heading into the EU.
I really can't see how this can work, even with blockchain technologies. There are 15,000 taxes on processed foods to confuse matters. More on Customs Union
The government says it gives the UK an independent trade policy, with the ability to set its own non-EU tariffs and to reach separate trade deals. Thus a post-Brexit UK would "control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world". This is the big issue for food and farming - bigger then the subsidies. The boss of Wetherspoons is campaigning to get rid of all food tariffs - as they put his prices up. 'Free trade deals' are built on allowing 'free trade' of goods/services between countries doing the deal.
The trade bill was a major victory for the Free Marketeers. The government effectively killed off this 'Chequers plan' and laid the road for a Brexit based on deregulation and liberalisation. They stamped on attempts to give parliament sovereignty over trade policy, just to make sure no pesky MP could get in the way of their plans for a free-market “Singapore-on-Thames”.
LabourThe agreement says it will end free movement of people "giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country". A "mobility framework" will be set up to allow UK and EU citizens to travel to each other's territories, and apply for study and work. There was only a vague suggestion from the prime minister that EU workers might get slightly more favourable treatment after Brexit.
There was nothing in the 'plan' to offer any hope to the farmers who rely on seasonal workers. The UK government has promised seasonal workers will be allowed to continue to come to the UK until the end of 2020 but, after that, no one knows what will happen.
Will this make any difference in those plantation areas in Eastern England, so dependent on EU migrant labour that led to Brexit?