Plans are in place to minimise disruption for the farming sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to the government.

But the amount of support for individual sectors is yet to be decided.


Concern is mounting that sheep producers, in particular, could see their livelihoods devastated if the Brexit transition period ends without a deal on 31 December.

See also: Sheep sector must not be ‘sacrificial lamb’ of no-deal Brexit

The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) said failure by the UK and EU to reach a trade deal in the coming days would be catastrophic for industries and entire Welsh communities.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said even with a trade deal, industries faced major challenges from non-tariff barriers at borders.

Agricultural exports would face additional costs of up to 10% – as well as major disruptions and practical obstacles to the flow of goods.

‘Worrying impact’

“These already worrying impacts will increase many fold if we fail to reach a trade agreement, in particular as a result of the tariffs that will be charged on our exports,” said Mr Roberts.

The viability and very survival of businesses, as well as the supply chains and jobs they support depended on a deal being struck, he added.

“Talk of an ‘Australia-style deal’ is just a euphemism for a damaging no-deal.”

More than one-third of sheepmeat produced in Wales is exported annually – more than 90% of it exported to the EU.

Mr Roberts said: “We have said since the referendum that no responsible UK government would allow the UK to leave the EU without a trade deal.”

‘Reckless act’

A no-deal Brexit at a time when jobs, lives and the economy were being ravaged by coronavirus would be a “massive and reckless act of self harm,” he added.

Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts said Boris Johnson’s Brexit brinkmanship was “playing fast and loose” with Welsh farmers’ livelihoods.

Earlier, the Prime Minister suggested no deal would be ‘wonderful’ for Britain.

But former Labour leader Ed Miliband told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Mr Johnson was playing Russian roulette with people’s jobs and livelihoods.

‘Market disruption’

Mr Miliband said: “How dare he say it’ll be a wonderful outcome when we know the impact [of a no-deal] on our farmers?”

The Sunday Telegraph reported that the government plans to underwrite the losses of up to 3,500 sheep farmers on less than £10k per year in the event of “severe market disruption”.

But that has yet to be confirmed.

A Defra spokesman said: “As any responsible government would, we have plans in place to minimise disruption for the farming sector if a deal is not reached with the EU.”

But he added: “No decisions have been taken on any sector-specific interventions – including the sheep sector – past the end of the transition period.”