by Nerys Llewelyn Jones
It seems that Theresa May has finally had the go ahead from the EU to start discussing trade on exit – that is the news headlines as I write this piece. This has been long awaited and hopefully gives some hope for a deal on Brexit. The alternative, of course, is an exit with no agreement and us being under World Trade Organisation rules in terms of trade and the application of tariffs on exports. The effect of this is twofold – it will cost more to export our products to everywhere outside the UK and it will also cost more for others outside the UK to sell their products in to the UK. This has led to a report being published which claims that households will be on average £500 worse off per year when it comes to buying food and that milk prices on Brexit will go up by 45%. This is an interesting dynamic and which may bode well for certain agricultural sectors.
I also gave evidence to the House of Commons Wales Affairs Committee on Brexit. This is the first time I have done this and it was interesting to see what questions were posed by the members about agriculture and about the constitutional and legal implications for Wales on Brexit. This has been dominating a lot of the debate and the Withdrawal Bill tables considerable power being given initially at least to the UK Government (not Parliament) to make decisions on behalf of Wales and the other devolved administrations in areas which have, up until now, been within the devolved competencies. I spoke to the Junior Agri Academy group for 2017 recently and I was impressed by their innovative and insightful practical approach of how we as farmers might tackle the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities which lie ahead with Brexit.
I don’t just want to talk about Brexit though, we did an item for Ffermio in October about risks and liabilities on farms and this was also the theme of a talk I did in conjunction with NatWest Bank and Dyfed Powys Police in Aberystwyth recently. The police spoke about cyber-crime and about the scams and risks that are posed to our businesses daily. For those who are interested in learning more, log on to the police’s cyber-crime pages and you can also receive up-to-date information from them about the most recent scams that come through on phishing emails and even telephone scams which you should be aware of. If you are concerned about an email or something else contact the Cyber Crime department for assistance immediately. Health and Safety and cyber-crime should both be high on our list of priorities as when things go wrong with either the consequences can be devastating.
As we look forward to the Festive Season, we wish you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy and prosperous New Year.