The House of Lords tells us that farming exports are hugely reliant upon access to the market of the remnant European Union:
Leaving the European Union without a trade deal in place could put up to 97% of British food and drink exports at risk, according to a House of Lords report that lays bare the agricultural industry’s overwhelming reliance on local markets.
As negotiations between the EU and British government appear to take a turn for worse, concerns are growing that failure to reach an exit deal could leave many industries facing steep tariff barriers in future – something government ministers hope could be offset by opportunities in other international export markets.
The latest Lords report on the implications of Brexit exposes particularly high dependency on the single market and associated EU trade deals among British farmers and food manufacturers.
We just cannot say that this surprises us. For as they also say:
It is the impact on farmers that is giving peers most cause for concern, and the report warns of a possible quadruple whammy from Brexit as they lose access to EU farm subsidies, European export markets, access to European workers and protection from a cheap imports from outside the EU.
The entire EU system is built so as to keep small scale Northern European farming viable. That's why those barriers against cheap imports, the things which would make the average person across the country so much better off. That's why the money lifted from wallets as tax to pay the subsidies. And of course that's why exports are so reliant upon those other places which have extortionately high food prices as a result of trying to keep small scale Northern European farming viable.
And, of course, the great promise of Brexit, that we can reconsider this and other such arrangements and decide whether they're worth it.
We think not of course. Subsidies these days are the single farm payment and that's just, as David Ricardo pointed out 200 years ago last fortnight, going to act as an increase in rental value and thus push up the capital value of land. Abolishing the system as a whole will thus reduce the capital requirement for anyone desiring to go into farming and thus, well, you know, make it cheaper to be a farmer? Plus, also, make food cheaper for all us consumers as the repeal of the Corn Laws showed that 150 odd years ago.
And it really is true that we're supposed to be doing our economic management for consumers, not producers. Abolish the entire system of agricultural subsidies and we'll all, in aggregate, be better off. Thus we should abolish all agricultural subsidies.