The Huffington Post is today reporting that Ministers do not know how how much it will cost the UK to replace the EU’s regulatory functions if we leave the EU with no deal. Parliamentary Answers given to Labour MP Mary Creagh appear to show that the staff, investment and buildings needed for the UK to maintain standards in vital areas like food safety have not been calculated.
If Brexit Secretary David Davis and his team of negotiators fail to strike a deal with Brussels, the UK would immediately leave major EU agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority.
Creagh has called the Government “woefully unprepared for Brexit”.
Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of the food and farming alliance Sustain says:
“It’s deeply concerning that the Government can’t say how much it will cost to replace the functions of the European Food Safety Authority when we leave the EU. Our food safety systems are already under severe strain. Recent trends in government deregulation have resulted in 50% reduction in trading standards staff and 50% less capacity for food inspections in England. Additionally, the UK Food Standards Agency has recently indicated that there is insufficient funding to run the Food Crime Unit that was set up following the horse-meat scandal. This is the worrying current state of our much reduced food safety and standards service, even before additional costs and responsibilities are laid at their door in the process of leaving the EU and seeking new trade deals with other countries."
“The Government needs to reverse this trend for cutting back the institutions who keep our food safe. In addition, like growing numbers of people and industry organisations working on British food standards and food safety, we call on the UK government to maintain close ties to the European Food Safety Agency. Food-borne contamination, poisoning and disease outbreaks do not respect national borders. Continued close cooperation with established EU bodies - which the UK taxpayer has invested in over many years - is a sensible and cost-effective way to keep our food safe.”
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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