Pause for Farmers
Avoid a No Deal Brexit
A decade of austerity, a pandemic, a summer drought, and now the threat of a No Deal Brexit. Is this the last straw for farming in Staffordshire? It doesn’t have to be like this – demand a pause in the Brexit transition period so we can deal with the pandemic and then negotiate a proper EU trade deal. But you must act before the end of June!
We are heading for a no deal Brexit. At the end of the year the transition period ends and, unless we have agreed a comprehensive trade deal with the EU, we will be forced to trade on disastrous WTO terms. This means damaging tariffs on farm products, loss of our biggest markets, lowering of food standards and unfair competition.
"No deal would have a severe impact on farmers, food and the environment"
"In a no deal scenario, UK exports to the EU would face the same tariffs as goods entering the EU from third countries without a preferential trade agreement. This could result in the imposition of a 27% tariff on chicken, 46% on lamb, and 65% on British beef."
"Under WTO rules the reduction or elimination of tariffs on any product would have to be applied to all imports, regardless of where they come from – so we could have to reduce tariffs on all food imports to the UK."
Negotiations are curently stalled, with no agreement in sight and very little time left. We have until June 30 to request an extension to the transition period. An extension would allow the UK government to focus on fighting COVID-19 now, and buy more time to negotiate a proper trade deal that protects Staffordshire farms and related businesses
This isn't about Brexit. It isn’t about whether you voted leave or remain. This is about doing what is in the national interest and the interest of the farmers and people of Staffordshire.
What can I do?
Sign the European Movement Petition
The European Movement UK is campaigning for a pause in the transition period. Negotiations with the EU are making little progress and both sides are, rightly, focused on fighting COVID-19. Getting a good deal for Staffordshrie farmers requires more time for the negotiations to succeed and the EU have indicated a 2 year extension could be available if we ask for it.
Sign and share the European Movement’s petition to pause the transition period and focus on tackling Covid-19.
Sign the NFU Petition
As the UK begins to negotiate trade deals with countries around the world, do you want the food you eat to continue to be produced to the world leading standards you’ve come to expect? Sign the NFU's food standards petition and ask the UK government to ensure all food imports are produced to the same high standards as British farmers.
Our Government should ensure that all food eaten in the UK – whether in our homes, schools, hospitals, restaurants or from shops – is produced in a way that matches the high standards of production expected of UK farmers. Covid-19 has highlighted just how important this is.
Contact your MP - this is really important!
A face-to-face meeting with your MP is very effective and, even if that’s not possible, many MPs are holding virtual surgeries during the current crisis. See if you can get an appointment.
Failing that write a letter or email your MP. Contact details for all Staffordshire MPs can be found here.
A short, personlised message is all that is required. The amount of correspondence an MP gets does make a difference, and if its customised, rather than a template letter, it will have even more impact.
Some of the key points you might want to include are:
- The economy of the West Midlands will shrink by up to 13% without a EU trade deal according to the government’s own figures. This will lead to job losses and hardship across Staffordshire.
- Farmers will be particularly badly hit due to the loss of European markets, tariffs on our farm exports and an influx of low cost imports.
- A majority of people in the U.K. support extending the transition period. But this isn’t about Brexit. It isn’t about who voted leave or remain. It is about doing what is in the national interest.
- We are currently experiencing the worst public health crisis in over a century. The outbreak of COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our NHS and our economy, leaving many of us financially vulnerable.
- The International Monetary Fund has calculated that leaving without a deal would add a further, permanent loss of 5% to the UK’s GDP - and this is on top of the Office of Budget Responsibility predicting a 35% shrink to the economy in the second quarter because of damage already inflicted by Coronavirus. This means thousands of jobs in Staffordshire are at risk of being lost.
- Our doctors and nurses are on the front line, fighting this virus everyday. They are risking their lives to protect the public. Please support an extension to the Brexit transition period, so we can focus on getting the best deal possible and protecting our frontline workers in the NHS.
- What is becoming increasingly clear to us is that the NHS just will not cope with both the effects of a No Deal Brexit and COVID- 19.
- Leaving the European Union without a deal in place would cause:
- Delays in importing medicines and other essential medical equipment, including vital personal protective equipment.
- A weakening of the public health response, including the response to pandemics when we leave EU schemes without agreeing to partnerships with crucial EU bodies.
- Disruption of patient care due to the ending of reciprocal healthcare agreements.
There is a great tool to help you write a tailored email or letter to your MP here.
This tool will help you find your MP and then customise a template letter that will be emailed directly to them. Remember, a customised email is always better but if you are short of time this template will help make your voice heard.
Help fund our campaigns – Crowdfunder
The combination of a No Deal Brexit and Covid-19 will have a devastating impact on our farming community, NHS and our economy. Chip in to stop a No Deal Brexit. We are 100% people-powered and all of our work is funded by donations from people like you. You can contribute to our Crowdfunder here.
We can cut through the right-wing media machine if our voice is loud enough. We are ready to fight back and challenge the narrative. We cannot allow a catastrophic No Deal Brexit to destroy our farms, the NHS, our economy, and to risk lives.
Government ready to open British markets to chlorinated chicken for US trade deal
"The government is set to open British markets to food produced to lower US welfare standards as part of its planned trade deal with Donald Trump."
"Downing Street on Thursday refused to stand by an earlier pledge to keep so-called "chlorinated chicken" off UK shelves, in the first sign of the government folding under pressure from American trade negotiators."
"Ministers are reportedly considering letting in products like chlorinated chicken and hormone fed beef into British supermarkets, but applying tariffs to them to protect UK-based farmers from competition."
Find out more
The UK’s last chance to request an extension to the transition is just a few weeks away, on 30th June. The government needs to act now. Join us in putting pressure on the government to agree an extension to the transition period and delay Brexit. To find out why this is so important check out this link and then share with you friends and contacts.
Contact your local media
Write to your local paper
The aim is to reach out to those in your local community who may be open to persuasion. It is surprising how many are not aware of some of the basic arguments or the damage that will be done to the Staffordshire economy by a no deal exit from the transition period.
Keep it short - within about 250 words. Put forward three basic points, for example:
- We must pause the Brexit transition in order to focus on fighting COVID-19.
- Staffordshire farmers have done a brilliant job through a decade of austerity and the COVID-19 pandemic. But a summer drought followed by a No Deal Brexit will be the final straw for many small and medium size farm businesses.
- The people of Staffordshire will be 13% worse off trading on WTO terms according to the government’s own figures.
Email/phone-in/Tweet local and national radio
Local radio and TV stations are always keen to hear from listeners/viewers, either by phone-in, or Twitter, email, Facebook, etc. Listen in to appropriate talk shows and note down their contact details. Alternatively, google the station and find their contact details including Twitter feeeds, Facebook pages, email address. They may have differenct contact details for different shows so pick a topical talk show as your target.
Prepare one main point you want to get across and have another 2 or 3 ready as follow-ups. If you can relate it to your personal situation even better - for example if you work in farming you can talk about the impact the pandemic is having on your buseinss and how a No Deal Brexit will compound these problems.
Use all of your social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc to reach out to your contacts and ask them to sign the petition, write letters, or contribute a small amount to our Crowdfunder. Retweet our Staffs4E Tweets and share our Staffs4Europe Facebook posts.
We are heading for a no deal Brexit. At the end of the year the transition period ends and, unless we have agreed a comprehensive trade deal with the EU, we will be forced to trade on disastrous WTO terms.
Cliff Mitchell, Staffs4Europe