Government “too complacent” on impact of food shortages after Brexit


Layla Moran says the Government are being “unacceptably risky” as a House of Commons committee she is a member of finds that failures in preparing for Brexit mean food shortages are a real possibility.

The influential cross-party Public Accounts Committee – which scrutinises government spending and value for money for the taxpayer – has today (14th November) published its report into the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ preparations for Brexit.

The committee concludes that:

- The Department is too complacent about potential disruption or interruption to trade

- Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters remain

- Inadequate engagement with businesses means small businesses in particular are ill-prepared

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for food, farming, animal welfare and environmental issues – but many of its plans for Brexit are high-risk and dependent on other areas of government and the goodwill of other EU countries.

MPs on the committee found that the Department is too complacent about the levels of disruption or interruption to trade that may be faced. Fundamental issues for food, chemical and animal importers and exporters are yet to be resolved and there is not enough time for Parliament to scrutinise and pass legislation that is needed.

The Committee is now calling on the Government to be clear about the impact of not being able to make the necessary legal changes in time.

Public Accounts Committee member & Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon Layla Moran commented:

“After taking evidence from senior staff at the Department responsible our committee doesn’t have any confidence that food imports, food standards and food safety can be guaranteed if we leave the EU – especially if there is no-deal.

“Muddling through in the hope of goodwill is unacceptably risky – we cannot have unsafe food or worse no food at all on the shelves after Brexit. This is not a price worth paying.

“The Environment Secretary Michael Gove – one of the architects of the Leave campaign - should put the prospect of stockpiling food to bed once and for all by ruling out a no-deal scenario.

“Reading between the lines, I believe this means that the civil service think a cliff edge Brexit is nonsense. Even if we leave with No Deal the idea that it wouldn’t be without a transition is ridiculous. The government is using scaremongering rhetoric to make their paltry deal look better than it is. We must not be fooled. We need a People’s vote between whatever deal is struck, which may be no deal, and remaining in the EU.”


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