The UK’s agricultural industry has been at the heart of the EU referendum debate because of the EU’s farming subsidies and the sector’s sensitivity to price changes and tariffs, but still many of us are unclear on how the referendum’s outcome will affect this key part of our economy.
With the EU referendum on June 23 drawing closer, the UK200Group – the UK’s leading membership association of quality-assured independent chartered accountancy and law firms – has asked the official Remain and Leave campaigns a number of key SME questions, as posed by its members and their clients. Three of the 30 questions in the report address how the agricultural industry would be affected by the outcome of the vote.
Among them is the following question:
What would happen with farming subsidies? Would we keep much the same model, and either pay the same and have our farmers receive more than they do now or pay less and have them receive the same, or would we move to a different model?
The Remain campaign said, “The European Agriculture Fund for Rural Development, where Britain gets £1.4bn from 2014 to 2020, and CAP funding, where the EU has earmarked £20bn for UK farmers until 2020, are vital sources of income for our farmers, many of whom rely on it for income and may not be able to sustain themselves without this money. Outside of the EU, our access to this crucial funding would be lost.
“The leave campaigns make all sorts of promises about spending fictional savings on the NHS, on agriculture, on schools, but the reality is that leaving the EU would wreck our economy, and Vote Leave have already been called out on having a £14bn black hole in their spending plans, so farmers cannot trust them on their fantasy plan for Britain outside the EU.”
The Leave campaign said, “It is not necessary to be a member of the scheme to guarantee funding or subsidies - the UK supported those who produce its food for years before joining the EU, and would continue to do so after we Vote Leave. British farmers would continue to be supported after we Vote Leave. Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland all support their farming sectors outside the EU and the CAP.
“In fact, the payments made by these countries are actually more generous than those paid by the EU to member states. David Cameron has guaranteed that British farmers would continue to be supported, writing to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) ‘As long as I am Prime Minister, I would make sure that an agricultural support system would be properly maintained’ and appears to commit that he would expect any future Conservative government to do likewise.”
The UK200Group compiled the questions in order to address a lack of clarity about how remaining or leaving the EU would affect the small business community. The questions put to Britain Stronger in Europe and Vote Leave were all sourced from the association’s members and their clients.
The UK200Group, which was established in 1986, represents a group of trusted, quality-assured business advisers – accountants and lawyers – who have over 150,000 SME clients in total. As such, the UK200Group acts as the voice for 1,500 charities, over 10% of all registered academies, more than 3,700 farms, 800 healthcare businesses and over 500 property and construction professionals.
The full report can be found here: http://www.uk200group.co.uk/web/FILES/EU_Questions_answers_v... .
A video of the media briefing that launched the report can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-fHaWkALac .
The UK200Group: http://www.uk200group.co.uk/
Campaign for Clarity 30 Questions and Answers report: http://www.uk200group.co.uk/web/FILES/EU_Questions_answers_v...
Media briefing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-fHaWkALac
Britain Stronger in Europe: http://www.strongerin.co.uk/
Vote Leave: http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/
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On May 11, the UK200Group hosted a debate at which 30 questions from SME owners were given to leading politicians, who discussed the implications of a Remain or Leave vote. The questions were then given to the official Remain and Leave campaigns, and the report was put together between 12 and 24 May.
About the UK200Group:
The UK200Group was formed in 1986, and is the UK’s leading association of independent chartered accountants and law firms, with connections around the world.
The association brings together around 150 member offices in the UK with more than 500 partners who serve roughly 150,000 business clients. Its international links in nearly 70 countries give its members access to expertise across the globe.
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