Truss gets key Brexit group role

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss is one of eight senior Whitehall politicians who have formed a group to co-ordinate engagement with businesses following the EU referendum.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Elizabeth Truss. Pic: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The Leeds-raised MP will meet with fellow members of the inter-ministerial group next week to discuss the views and concerns of businesses in all sectors across the UK - including agriculture.

The new group is chaired by Business Secretary Sajid Javid. It draws together ministers from across government who will feed the views of the business community into the Cabinet Office’s new ‘EU referendum Unit’.

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Mr Javid said: “Now more than ever, businesses need certainty so it’s vital that the government maintains an open and continuous dialogue.”

Ahead of the group’s first meeting, Miss Truss met Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, who highlighted how government must play a key role to ensure farming is sustainable outside of the European Union.

Afterwards, Mr Raymond said: “We must take this opportunity to build a new domestic agricultural policy that is shaped to meet our needs - a policy that allows farmers and growers to prosper while delivering the nation’s home-grown food.

“Getting the right results will take time but we need early answers to questions such as the future of support payments. We will be seeking guarantees that the support given to our farmers remains equal to that given to farmers in the EU.”

The future of British meat exports remains positive, according to Jean-Pierre Garnier, head of livestock exports at the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board.

Speaking at AHDB’s Meat Export Conference, he said: “I anticipate there will be three years of rough seas and uncertainty for the UK meat trade. However, our core strengths and unique selling points, such as our natural production systems and the high quality and great taste of our products remain in place and, therefore, the long-term prospects are highly favourable, provided we manage a smooth transition to a new, constructive trading agreement with the EU.”