A group of 18 organisations representing the UK livestock sector, under the chairmanship of Chris Dodds, Executive Secretary of the Livestock Auctioneers Association, met with farming Minister George Eustice and his team in London last week (November 17). The meeting focussed on Brexit priorities and how the group could assist in communicating ideas from a number of different areas within the industry.
Trade, labour needs and future support were top of the agenda; with securing tariff free access to the EU and access to both skilled and unskilled labour post Brexit being high priorities.
“The intention is to move away from lobbying for the status quo, and instead to come together and share the expert knowledge we all have in an efficient and joined-up manner,” said Chris. “Working as the UK Livestock Brexit Group provides our industry with the best platform possible to offer Government the extensive knowledge base that our sector can provide to ministers and administrations as they travel through the maze that will lead to an exit from the EU.”
Chris stressed that while reaching a unified position was not the main aim of the group, it had not been difficult to agree on the need for continued tariff-free access to the single market and the requirement for both skilled and unskilled labour within the industry beyond Brexit.
The group wants a transition period, for as long as necessary to protect the domestic livestock sectors’, to be agreed well in advance – and for a level playing field with free access to the EU market.
“While trade and labour were top of the agenda for this meeting, other topics will include farm support, regulation and resources,” said Chris.
“It was a very good, positive meeting, and we went into it with a clean sheet of paper. We have a commitment from the Minister that we can come together for regular meetings as we progress, and look forward to assisting the Government in any way we can to help ensure a successful and thriving industry through Brexit and after.”