Country Landowners Association (CLA) President Ross Murray has signalled his confidence in the ability of farmers and other rural businesses to create opportunities in the future outside the European Union following the dramatic outcome of the referendum.
He said: “This is a historic decision and we are entering an unprecedented period for our country and economy. There will be a significant amount of change in the weeks, months and years ahead. This will bring challenges but also significant opportunities.
“Millions of people have voted for a new and different future for the UK. They have seen the opportunity to exploit new global markets, to reduce the red tape that stifles their ability to run their farm or business and to have a greater say in decisions that affect them and their rural communities. The CLA will be working to ensure that existing and future governments deliver on turning these desires into a reality.”
Ross Murray addressed some of the immediate decisions for politicians that the CLA set out during the campaign:
“There are some urgent decisions for Ministers to make. These decisions are necessary to secure the immediate future of the rural economy. We need an early guarantee that, whatever happens with regard to the negotiations on the UK’s exit, the support that is currently provided to UK farmers and the wider economy through the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will continue unbroken and unchanged until at least the end of December 2020.
“As negotiations begin on trade relationships to succeed our position as a full member of the European Union, Ministers must have the needs of farming and other rural businesses at the front of their minds. The ambition must be a barrier and tariff-free relationship. Whatever happens, the UK Government must not allow a poor trade dynamic that leaves UK agriculture at a disadvantage.
“Discussions must begin as soon as practical on what will replace the support provided through the CAP. A dedicated UK Agriculture and Land Use Policy must be in place ready for the day we exit the European Union. This has to be a widely accepted policy that supports our farmers, helping them to be resilient to unpredictable markets, and providing them with a firm foundation to compete with EU and other farmers from across the world. It must also be a policy that fully supports the vital work of managing our land and wildlife, preserving our landscapes and supporting rural communities.”