No-deal Brexit could cause 'civil unrest', farming union warns

FUW president Glyn Roberts said an abrupt exit from the EU could lead to a 'possibility of some civil unrest'
FUW president Glyn Roberts said an abrupt exit from the EU could lead to a 'possibility of some civil unrest'

A farming union has claimed there could be 'civil unrest' as a result of the UK leaving the EU with no-deal.

Unions and groups have used the publicity of the annual Royal Welsh Show to highlight the economic impacts for agriculture and rural communities if the UK abruptly exit the EU.

According to the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), such a scenario could lead to the 'possibility of some civil unrest'.

“If the farming community have their backs against the wall, the only way they're going to get from there is fighting their way through,” FUW President Glyn Roberts said.

The union met with Defra Secretary Michael Gove and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns on Monday (22 July) to highlight these concerns.

It comes as the latest analysis by Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales) suggests that 92.5% of Welsh lamb export trade could disappear if the UK leaves the EU with no-deal.

The meat levy body said the impact on farming would be 'off the Richter scale'.

It says the such a scenario would cause 'significant upheaval' for both beef and sheepmeat trade with exports to the EU 'falling substantially'.

Meanwhile, NFU Cymru is set to tell the new Prime Minister that no-deal poses a ‘serious threat’ to the farming sector.

President John Davies will outline that the EU export market is 'vital' to the Welsh agricultural industry, saying that farmers must 'not lose out on a penny of funding' as a result of Brexit.

“The EU27 is our nearest and most valuable export market, a market that we currently enjoy frictionless, tariff free access to the 500m or so consumers on our doorstep.

“Welsh agriculture is particularly exposed to the effects of leaving the EU without a deal.

“Around 72% of Welsh food and drink exports are destined for EU countries, and in the case of our iconic PGI Welsh lamb the figure is even higher, with 95% of what we export going to the EU.

“If we were to leave without a deal, then we know that the high tariffs on our exports into this market would mean that we would simply be unable to compete,” he says.

It comes as the Welsh government's Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, announced nearly a million pounds of support through the European Transition Fund to help the farming industry respond to Brexit.

The funding will be used to support the sectors to be as resilient as possible through effective planning, help with mental and wellbeing issues and further develop marketing opportunities.