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Editor's View: A landscape of change and challenge for post-Brexit agriculture

In the wake of the Autumn Statement, the focus has largely been on the political narratives surrounding personal taxation and its implications for the electorate. However, beneath these headlines lies a significant development for the business sector, particularly in agriculture, which warrants closer examination.

A New Era for Business and Agriculture:

The government's decision to permanently extend 'full expensing' of capital investment, coupled with the release of Lord Richard Harrington's review on enhancing foreign direct investment in the UK, signals a pivotal moment.

These initiatives, which essentially form a blueprint for an industrial strategy, are crucial for creating a stable environment for businesses, including those in the agricultural sector.

The Importance of Certainty:

As noted by Dave Ramsden, Deputy Governor for Markets and Banking at the Bank of England, the post-Brexit era has undeniably dampened business investment.

The need for certainty in fiscal policy and international relations is paramount for encouraging investment. This is particularly true for agriculture, where long-term planning and stability are vital for success.

Brexit's Persistent Uncertainty:

Brexit has introduced a unique and persistent form of uncertainty, different from historical shocks such as the Opec oil crisis or the 9/11 attacks.

This ongoing uncertainty, as highlighted in various economic studies, poses a significant challenge for the agricultural sector, which is deeply integrated with European markets.

The Impact on UK Agriculture:

The UK's new position post-Brexit, while established through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, continues to present challenges.

The agricultural industry, in particular, must navigate a constantly evolving policy landscape, from new Brexit borders affecting EU imports to potential changes in regulatory regimes, such as those concerning chemical usage and environmental standards.

The Road Ahead:

The question remains: how will the UK's agricultural sector adapt to this new, inherently more precarious position?

While industry groups have expressed a desire for a lighter regulatory touch, environmental and consumer groups advocate for robust regulations. This dichotomy underscores the ongoing uncertainty facing the sector.

As Britain continues to define its post-Brexit identity, the agricultural sector stands at a crossroads. The need for clear, stable policies has never been more critical.

The forthcoming consultations and policy decisions will not only shape the future of British agriculture but also signal the government's commitment to balancing economic growth with environmental and consumer protection.

The path Britain chooses now will set the course for its agricultural sector for years to come.


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