DOES this government care about British agriculture? Its misguided trade deal with Australia is certainly selling farmers short.
The Department for International Trade’s own impact assessment estimates that the deal will cost our farmers and fishers £94m. The knock-on effect just for the tinned food firms which rely on agriculture and fishing will be a staggering £225m.
The impact assessment callously accepts that this country’s farming industry will contract as a result of the Australia deal. In a Select Committee meeting the Conservative MP Neil Parish warned passionately that labour shortages are destroying our farming system and queried whether some ministers knew what they were doing.
Last year we saw pig farmers forced to slaughter their own animals, abattoirs unable to process meat because of a shortage of vets, milk being poured away, and market gardeners destroying or giving away produce because there’s no one to pick it.
This year will probably be worse. This is the result of a botched Brexit based on blinkered antagonism to our biggest and nearest trading partner.
Leave voters did not vote for desperate trade deals which undercut and devastate British farmers. No surprise then that the Government lost the recent by-election in North Shropshire, a Leave-voting farming community that had elected Conservative MPs for more than 200 years.
The message is clear – until the Government cleans up its act on farming, it cannot protect our country’s interests.
From: John Cole, Oakroyd Terrace, Baildon, Shipley.
MANY of your readers will be familiar with the storyline of Jane Eyre that features Bertha, the first Mrs Rochester. The latter was once beautiful but became insane and destructive and was kept locked in a secret room in the large Rochester house. Since Bertha was a clear embarrassment, Mr Rochester never referred to her and she remained hidden away.
In a like manner Conservatives now shy away from mentioning Brexit. The whole business of the UK leaving the EU has become an embarrassment. At one point perceived by “Leavers” as desirable and to be embraced, Brexit is now tucked away, out of sight and avoided by Ministers and backbenchers.
Brexit shares with Mrs Rochester the twin characteristics of being both insane and destructive. As an editorial in The Irish Times succinctly put it: “No state in the modern era has committed such a senseless act of self-harm.”
From: Peter Brown, Shadwell, Leeds.
HOW do those claiming Brexit Britain is attractive to inward investors square that with the problems Donald Trump-owned golf resorts in Scotland are experiencing due to our departure from the European Union (Trump golf courses blame Brexit for staff, cost and delivery issues – The Yorkshire Post, December 28)?
The former US President doesn’t evoke sympathy. But many Yorkshire firms will at least recognise difficulties Brexit has caused his golf courses – such as rising costs, lost trade, staff shortages and delivery problems.
Brexit meant the Conservative Party forfeiting its reputation – probably undeserved, anyway – as the party of business and sound economic management.
In the coming year, I’d like to see the main opposition Labour Party do more to aggressively seize those positions.
From: Peter Packham, Shadwell Lane, Leeds.
YOU reported that Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng would be meeting with energy industry bosses “over the coming days and weeks” to try and avert an “enormous crisis” which may see households energy bills almost double from April (The Yorkshire Post, December 27).
I seem to remember that before the 2016 referendum one of the carrots dangled by the Leave side was that if the UK left the EU the government would be able to cut VAT on domestic fuel to zero.
This claim was made by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jacob Rees-Mogg. Well now is the time to put your money where your mouths were gentlemen, or was it just another empty Brexit promise?