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Tim Farron on the “historic betrayal” of British farmers by Australia trade deal

May 28, 2021 10:18 AM
sep2 (Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash)Tim Farron slates the proposed trade deal with Australia in an article in The House website:

So often we see Conservative MPs and ministers take to social media to tell us how much they love British farming and how they think it's the best in the world.

But their plans for a free trade deal with Australia show that when push comes to shove they seem to have no problem whatsoever with throwing British farmers under a bus.

As a liberal I am firm believer in free trade - but only as long as it's fair trade.

Australian animal welfare standards are lower than the UK's which makes for lower production costs and cheaper produce. Therefore, the only way that small British family farms could compete would be to lower their own standards - which nobody except the government wants them to do.

A trade deal on these terms would be a historic betrayal of British farming and will set a dangerous precedent. If Australian farmers are given the green light to undercut British farmers then surely it's inevitable that the government will allow Canadian, New Zealand and American farmers to do the same.

And not only is the Government betraying farmers, but going against the public's wishes too:

A survey from the consumer watchdog Which? found that 94% of people think it's important to maintain existing food standards, while 81% were uncomfortable eating beef reared using growth hormones - a practice which is widespread in Australian farming.

So why is the Government doing this?

The answer appears to be desperation. The government's mantra is "getting things done" and so they need to be seen to be securing trade deals quickly - especially as it was sold as one of the big benefits of leaving the EU.

But the problem with this approach is that the countries you are negotiating with can smell your desperation a mile off, which means that they know that they can get away with giving us a really bad deal. That's exactly what is happening here.

You can read the whole article here.