The National Sheep Association (NSA) has welcomed Liz Truss as the new Prime Minister, highlighting the importance of continuity and consistency amongst an increasingly turbulent landscape for the British food and farming sectors.
NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “After months of uncertainty is it encouraging to see things now moving forward and hopefully providing stability within Downing Street. NSA is keen to see the government build on the work to date on Future Farming Schemes, recognising the importance of domestic food production, and also ensuring that British produce is at the heart of any future trade agreements. UK lamb has added huge value to the export market but is also highly valued by the UK consumer.
“The political turmoil unfolding over the past months came at a time of significant volatility across the farming industry with rising input costs, changes to farming policy and the rollout of future farming schemes. It is reassuring that so far the Secretary of State and Farming Minister are still in post but disruption to agriculture must be kept to a minimum. The current political landscape around the world means that it is essential to have a united and stable government that isn’t distracted from its task and can embed food and farming policies that span beyond parliamentary terms.”
Mr Stocker said Mrs Truss has previously committed to making British farmers more competitive ‘freeing them to grow more sustainable and high-quality British food in order to enhance our nation’s food security’.
Specifically, her commitments are to cut red tape, and to make it easier for farmers to access the workers they need, achieving this by a short-term expansion to the Seasonal Worker Scheme while working with industry to address longer-term skills shortages and promote labour-saving technologies.
Mr Stocker added: “I welcome comments made by Liz Truss recognising the importance of farming and food production, and her intention to protect agricultural land from non-food producing activities. I also welcome her ambition to reduce red tape for farmers – although many before her have made similar commitments that have not been realised.
“NSA will be keeping a close eye on the direction of travel with trade given that the former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was the architect of the recent Australia and New Zealand trade deals – neither of which we see as being favourable to the British sheep sector.”