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Sustain Brexit Sustain Brexit newsletter

News update, 19 September 2017

Only two weeks since our previous Sustain Brexit Forum news, but it’s like a maelstrom out there, so here are a few things to alert you to:
  1. If you do just one thing today, sign up in support of the new Repeal Bill Alliance: This is coordinating third-sector responses and working to achieve key amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, also known as the Repeal Bill. Coordinated by our fabulous new friends at Unlock Democracy, and involving many of the main third-sector organisations active on Brexit. Sustain is part of the core working group, and we’ll keep you updated. However, more signatories – especially from health, social justice and food standards – would be very helpful, there is a great deal of shared territory and concern.
  2. We have summarised Sustain’s priorities for the Repeal Bill, and the approach we are taking at: Here's how the EU Withdrawal (Repeal) Bill needs fixing, arguing that good food sense is under threat, but must prevail.
  3. And there are two relevant parliamentary inquiries imminent – the first of many, no doubt. We are starting to coordinate responses with Sustain members and the Repeal Bill Alliance to the following:
  4. Will Labour rise to the farming challenge? What should Labour fight for in the post Brexit farm policy era? Sustain will be exploring this at an event on 24th September alongside SERA, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) and The Land Workers’ Alliance.
  5. The RSA is getting ready for the launch of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission that we’ve been flagging up for the past few months (and for which Sustain and other colleagues sat on the steering group to establish). Not much in the public domain yet, but the director has been appointed and here’s an RSA blog that mentions it, so get on the RSA mailing list (link at the bottom of the RSA page):
  6. And amidst all the Brexit shenanigans, here’s an optimistic and better-future-building job opportunity: Sustain Right to Food Coordinator, working to secure a new right to food in UK law. This is a one-year post in the first instance, to lay the foundations for – and take the first steps in – campaign and advocacy activities towards a new UK right to food. Might as well use this ‘unfrozen moment’ for something really game-changing for health and social justice! See:
Right. Pause to take a breath and on to the next Brexit thing. Thank you for everyone’s support, input and bolstering feedback along the way.
Kath Dalmeny
Chief Executive, Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming; @UKSustain

Expert blogs and technical opinions

(repeated from, but lightly updated since, the previous news update)
Below, we list some of the specialist briefings published by Sustain members and sister networks, which illustrate what a broad range of principles and protections are now at stake. For example (Ctrl-Click on the coloured headings):
  • Farm antibiotics: Controls governing unnecessary use of antibiotics on UK farms must be reliably preserved and urgently improved, says the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics.
  • Baby food standards: The Repeal Bill must guarantee continued high standards for baby food bought and sold in the UK, says the First Steps Nutrition Trust.
  • Additives in children’s food: The Repeal Bill must not allow a slip back to the bad old days of chemical-laced food for children, says Action on Additives.
  • Protected food names: The premium status of Britain’s high quality food producers must be upheld by the Repeal Bill to prevent loss of protected food names and their marketing and export opportunities, says Artisan Food Law and the Real Bread Campaign.
  • Animal welfare: The legal principle that animals are sentient beings must not be lost. Currently, the Repeal Bill fails to uphold the requirement that the UK government must “give full regard to the welfare requirements of animals” when making policy, says Compassion in World Farming.
  • Chemicals: The risk to environment and health protection is high, as the UK Government has not committed to the UK staying within highly sophisticated and world-leading EU systems for regulating risky chemicals, says ChemTrust.
  • Pesticides: Rules must be upheld in the Repeal Bill that govern pesticides, from safety levels of residues in food, to the licensing of chemicals allowed to be used on farms and in parks, says Pesticides Action Network.
  • Environmental protection: The Repeal Bill must not remove fundamental principles of environmental protection, and must make sure that UK law can be properly implemented and enforced, says the Greener UK alliance of 13 leading environmental organisations. And the Repeal Bill puts environmental protection at great risk, says Richard Benwell of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, writing for Wildlife & Countryside Link.
  • Workers’ rights: The Repeal Bill must safeguard existing EU equality and human rights protections, says UNISON – the public service union.
  • Human rights: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has set out important principles that must be upheld by the Repeal Bill, covering issues such as rights of the child, equal pay, disability rights, holiday pay and measures to address human trafficking. Worker and human rights are also the subject of a briefing paper from Global Justice Now.
  • Parliamentary Scrutiny. The Hansard Society has published a new paper, Taking Back Control for Brexit and Beyond, setting out proposals for a new EU (Withdrawal) Order that would strengthen scrutiny and help overcome challenges associated with delegated legislation.

Brexit: We stand at a cross-roads. When the UK leaves the European Union, will our leaders uphold good standards for our food, farming, fishing and trade deals? And will they agree a sensible deal with the EU? We need to make sure that they do!

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