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UK | Coronavirus Diary: the Virus That Did a No-Deal Brexit on our Food Supply

It seems inconceivable that it was only a year ago when the UK was due to crash out of the EU under a no deal Brexit. Thankfully that crisis was averted. Leading up to that momentous non-event, I wrote about what might happen to our food supply in the event that our smooth trading relationship with the EU broke down utterly. One year on, we find ourselves in a remarkably similar position […]

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Post-Brexit Food, Farming and Fair Trade | Food safety and labelling

What Brexit will mean for the future of UK and EU food and farming has been the topic of much debate and much uncertainty in the past few months. As the Brexit withdrawal plan is becoming more concrete, so too are the potential opportunities and concerns for the food system. Sharon Treat from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) talks us through five key risks. […]

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Does the Gove fit? Radical Shake up for UK Farming & Food after CAP & Brexit?

UK Ag minister Micheal Gove has claimed Brexit is a golden opportunity to create an independent, public goods focused national agri-food policy. This policy position has been praised by many, from environmentalists to the NFU. However, is he speaking with a forked tongue? And if not, then what might this potentially radical rupture signal for the EU and CAP? […]

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“Technical Rectification”, Trade & UK’s Brexit Double Act

Mainstream UK media have presented Brexit minister David Davis (left, without negotiating papers) as the public face of the country’s progress with Brexit talks. However, the press has studiously overlooked the back-room activities of the international trade minister Liam Fox, who has been rolling up his  sleeves and starting to size up Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) held by the European Union at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In an extraordinarily wide-reaching plan described as a “Technical Rectification”, Fox is planning to unilaterally carve out what he judges to be the UK’s share of TRQ  tonnages for third country imports such as New Zealand sheepmeat and register the results with the WTO. The story emerged thanks to Sky News journalist Faisal Islam, but only because the TV chain was filming Fox in action at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. In the past, technical rectifications have been more limited in scope, but this editing is on an industrial scale: Fox is not waiting for Davis to get round to discussing trade with the European Commission before trying […]

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Prime Minister May Floats Hard Brexit Plan For UK

UK prime minister Theresa May addressed he political party, the ruling Conservative party, at their conference at the start of the month. She tried to reassure the warring factions of that party that her plans for Brexit were on track. It’s clear she favours a hard – that’s complete – break from the EU, and not a soft – that’s partial – separation. […]

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How Brexit Threatens Britain’s Food Security

by Tim Lang, City University London The situation created by the British vote to leave the European Union is momentous for UK food. It is on a par with the Repeal of the Corn Laws of 1846 when Britain decided its Empire could feed it, not its own farmers. And it is as important as the creation of the Agriculture Act of 1947 when after two bruising wars in which the population faced serious risk of starvation, the country decided to put its food house in order – to produce more of what it could and look after the land. Those events set the tone and framework for UK food for decades after. Brexit will do the same. It doesn’t help that the political elites are now knifing each other in a distraction from the genuine, looming effects. My concern is that the security of food might get lost in the debacle. The UK must not let that happen. Food stocks are low in a just-in-time economy, an estimated three to five days’ worth. The […]