Belfast Telegraph

Farm incomes 'could be more than halved' if UK leaves EU without a free trade deal

By Gavin Cordon

Farm incomes could be slashed by more than half if Britain leaves the EU without a free trade deal, an industry advisory body has warned.

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), which is funded by a levy on the industry, predicted average annual farm incomes could fall from £38,000 to £15,000 if the UK unilaterally opened its doors to cheap food imports while removing EU subsidies following Brexit.

Even if Britain were to impose protectionist tariffs on imports under World Trade Organisation rules following a "cliff edge" Brexit, the AHDB said average incomes could still drop to £20,000.

In contrast, if the UK left the EU with a deal that largely retained existing trade relations and the regulatory framework, it said there could be a slight rise in average income to £41,000.

The findings come after Prime Minister Theresa May set out details on Monday of the Government's contingency planning to maintain Britain's status as an "independent trading nation" if it fails to reach agreement with the EU, amid continuing deadlock in the talks.

Belfast Telegraph