Brexit risks: food insecurity and a weak pound

By Guardian

The NFU is right to highlight the danger Brexit poses for British food ( Food shortage warning, 8 August). It is concerning in this uncertain geopolitical landscape that there has been a long-term decline in our food security.

Brexit brings additional risks and we could be at the mercy of other nations in our government’s bid to strike trade deals. Despite government promises to maintain our high-quality food and welfare standards, the reality is that any new trade deals will demand access to our markets. There is a danger that we will find ourselves importing food which has been produced in poor conditions, by underpaid and overworked farmers who have limited concern for animal welfare. We must have assurances that leaving the EU will not mean exporting morality overseas. As a nation we cannot hold our farmers to high standards here in Britain while eating imported food produced at much lower standards.

We need urgently to address our over-reliance on imported foods to avoid making every meal a moral quandary.

• Analysts say sterling’s slide will make UK exports cheaper ( Pound slides as no-deal Brexit fears prompt global selloff, 9 August). How does this work in today’s global trading world? Oil and other raw materials are traded in dollars, so if we are down against the dollar (which we increasingly are) then our necessary materials will cost proportionately more – and whoever we are, we need oil. And since we now source the majority of our parts for making things from abroad, this too will presumably weigh against any notional advantage in selling abroad with a cheap pound as long as we are down against other currencies (which we increasingly seem to be). I say notional because a strong Deutschmark never did German exporters any harm before they entered the euro – and indeed doesn’t now. And did that country think it was a good thing when its currency hit the floor during the days of the Weimar Republic? I grew up in the decades when rightwing politicians were constantly banging on about the need for a strong pound. How times change.
David Redshaw
Gravesend, Kent

• Where was George Cunningham when the EU referendum rules were drawn up? Your obituary (9 August) said he “feared that devolution would damage the UK, and successfully amended the Scotland Act 1978 to require that 40% of the Scottish electorate approve the devolution proposals in the planned referendum”. The true results for the Brexit referendum are that 37.4% of the electorate voted leave, 34.7% voted remain, and 27.9% didn’t vote. So not overwhelming support for leave as is so often forcefully claimed, and a 40% threshold would have made the EU result a remain victory.

This article provided by NewsEdge.