Plymouth MP Luke Pollard has accused the government of “selling out” farmers in the South West as a result of the agreed trade deal with Australia.
Mr Pollard has accused the government of failing Britain’s farmers in the same way it has the British fishing industry, after the Australian government published full details of the agreement reached on their future agricultural exports to the UK. Luke has consistently raised concerns that British farmers would be undercut by food produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards in future post-Brexit trade deals. He has tabled amendments to the Government’s Agriculture Bill to ensure Britain’s high food and farming standards are put into law.
Downing Street’s announcement earlier this week contained a single sentence on the central issue of agricultural tariffs: “British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.”
However, the Australian government has now revealed the true scale of its deal with the UK, which will – in practical terms – grant its agricultural corporations immediate and unlimited tariff-free access to the UK beef and lamb market, with no protection for British farmers:
- Australia would be able to increase its beef exports to the UK by more than sixty times their 2020 levels in the first year of the deal before any tariffs would kick in;
- They would be able to export four times more beef to the UK in the first year of the deal than they did to the whole of Europe in 2020 before any tariffs would kick in; and
- The UK would leap from 27th to 6th place in the global ranking of Australia’s biggest beef export markets if they use their full quota in the first year.
Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard said:
“The Government seems intent on selling out farmers in the same way they sold out our fishing industry. This trade deal will undercut British farmers with food produced to lower standards abroad. South West farmers are right to feel betrayed by Ministers.
“This deal offers Australian farmers incredible access to our market and it will give a P45 to many west country farmers in return. The South West is proud of our farmers and our high food standards and we must not let the Government sell them out in a deal with Australia.”