12 APR 2017

Defra Secretary, Andrea Leadsom visits Maidstone

Secretary of State signals strong assurances about Brexit preparations for Maidstone farmers

 At a meeting arranged by Maidstone & The Weald MP on Tuesday 12th April the DEFRA Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, listened to farmers' and NFU concerns and issued strong reassurances about the government's state of readiness for the Brexit process.

The 75 minute round-table session took place at Clockhouse Farm in Coxheath. The big questions were about seasonal workers and immigration both during the transition to Brexit and afterward, the mutual recognition of pesticides between the EU and the UK, and what will happen about the Basic Payment Scheme going forward.

Mrs Leadsom explained that 25% of all EU legislation that is the subject of the Brexit process is based within her department and there are literally tens of thousands of civil servants handling each and every aspect of policy. She said they were 'well ahead of the curve' and that the agricultural sector should 'ignore scare stories from certain media about lack of preparedness'.

Helen Grant said 'I think everyone was very reassured by Andrea's stance and her genuine invitation to write to her with any ideas they have for future policy. She set out a robust 5-point strategy focussed upon trade, innovation, sustainability, resilience and the upkeeping of our world class standards. I believe she has matters well in-hand and I am pleased that we will be maintaining close communication together throughout the Brexit process. I will keep my farmers right in the loop and continue to facilitate a healthy multilateral conversation'.

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