Leaver James Dyson makes Brexit intervention – ‘I’ve NO REGRETS’
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The vacuum cleaner tycoon is best known for being the UK’s richest man with an estimated fortune of £16.2 billion. But he is also one of the UK’s most successful farmers and has acquired 35,000 acres of land since he bought his first farm less than 20 years ago.
With just months to go until the end of the Brexit transition period, and with less than a month to go until the Prime Minister’ mid-October deadline for a trade deal, the 73-year-old is speaking out.
While he stands by his decision to vote Leave in the 2016 referendum, Mr Dyson said he does not trust the Government to match EU farming subsidies for long.
But he said the challenges which lie ahead may be a unique opportunity for Britain’s farming industry to up its game.
He told The Times: “British farmers will have to be a lot more efficient to survive.
“But maybe this is an opportunity to get more effective and become the best farmers in Europe.
“If we can produce excellent food to a high standard, I think people will increasingly want to go out of their way and buy it.
“But we need to convince them to start buying in a different way – from markets, food boxes and direct from British farmers.”
Touching on a post-Brexit trade deal between London and Washington, he said the Government must be careful to protect the UK’s high food standards.
He added: “I’m not against chlorinated chicken from America – we swim in it – but I think British farmers can offer a better product.”
The entrepreneur and founder of the eponymous Dyson group is the latest person to voice concerns over the possibility of chlorine-washed chicken flooding the UK market under a trade deal with the Americans.
Critics have also warned hormone-injected beef, GM foods and potentially unsafe baby food could be imported from the States.
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A series of leading British supermarkets have weighed into the debate by saying they will not sell chlorinate chicken or beef products from animals treated with hormones.
Mr Dyson’s concerns for the farming industry come after Scotland announced plans to continue an EU scheme after December 31.
The SNP led Scottish administration said the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will be carried over.
Holyrood has said farmers would continue to benefit from the £130 million Greening scheme in the future.
Rural communities are boosted by extra payments given to farmers for complying with certain regulations.
But farmers across England are braced for a gap in subsidies.
For the average English farmer, 61 percent of profit comes from subsidies, research by Defra has suggested.
Commentators have long warned farmers must be given financial support to maintain high production and meet the current animal welfare standards.
If farmers are not given any help from the Government, prices for shoppers will skyrocket, campaigners say.
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