MLA warns of Brexit’s ‘catastrophic impact’

Ian Milne Sinn Fein MLA and Assembly candidate
Ian Milne Sinn Fein MLA and Assembly candidate

Sinn Féin MLA, Ian Milne has said that farmers’ incomes must be considered and protected in the final Brexit deal.

Mr Milne said: “There is widespread concern in the farming and agriculture sector over the disastrous impact the Tory Brexit agenda will have on their livelihoods.

“It is very clear that there is an internal push from elements of the Tories for a hard Brexit which would have catastrophic economic impacts on our farmers.

“The concerns of the farming community must be adequately addressed in the increasingly chaotic Brexit process.”

The BBC recently reported that a post-Brexit agriculture policy could see a direct payment for farmers, but at a level “significantly below” that currently available from EU subsidies, it has emerged.

The payment could provide a guaranteed minimum income for farmers who rely heavily on subsidies.

If a model of “public money for public goods” were adopted, it is likely they could then increase it with payments for things like improved water quality and habitat protection.

The option of a guaranteed minimum payment came out in evidence to a Westminster committee.

It was written by a university academic who quoted an unpublished document from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA). DAERA said the document was still in draft and any decisions would be “for a future minister to take”.