How sheep (inc ewe) farmers will suffer if we leave EU

April 30, 2016 10:12 AM

38% of UK sheep production is exported to the EU. There are currently no tariff duties or quota on these exports and UK sheep meat product is priced competitively into the largest trading bloc on the planet.

The value of sheep/lamb exports from the UK to the EU is around £183.9 million a year. That's raised by a lot of farmers and shepherds working in the UK.

If we vote to leave the EU, the tariff rate on sheep meat imports to the EU is 12.8% which would effectively price us out of the European market as they could easily buy sheep meat without the tariff from another EU member state.

The obvious next step is that the UK has far more lamb than we can eat and the market becomes over supplied and the price crashes.

Good news? Nope, not for the farmers whose costs of transport and animal feed would increase if we leave the EU and their margins would vanish and we could see mass bankruptcies of farms across the UK.

Noting that farmers in Wales currently receive about £200 million a year in EU subsidies and Northern Ireland £240 million a year, with English farmers recieving far more than that, all of which would also stop and you don't have a very pretty picture for UK sheep farmers in a post EU United Kingdom.

Some say this loss of income would be made up from the fees we wouldn't pay to EU (itself a dodgy proposition - the Norway paymenst are often quoted)

But there are already more calls to spend these notional savings than the numbers themselves, before compensation for losers is calculated