News ID: 255102
Published: 1117 GMT July 01, 2019

Hunt pledges £6b for farmers in no-deal Brexit

Hunt pledges £6b for farmers in no-deal Brexit

Tory leadership contender Jeremy Hunt is to outline his plans for a no-deal Brexit later, including a £6 billion pledge to the fishing and farming industries and help for small businesses.

Hunt will say farmers and fishermen ‘face uncertainty’ with no deal, and as PM he would ‘help smooth it over’, BBC reported.

He will compare the help to the bail-out for banks in the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, plans by his rival, Boris Johnson, to give public sector workers a ‘fair’ pay rise have been revealed.

One of the leading supporters of his bid to be prime minister, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, told the Times the days of public sector ‘pay freezes’ under Theresa May and David Cameron would be over.

Hancock said, "People in the public sector need to be properly rewarded for the brilliant job they do."

Johnson has vowed to cut taxes if he becomes prime minister, predicting this would stimulate the economy, and increase government revenues.

"Now that there's money available, we need to show the public sector some love," Hancock said.


'No deal relief'


Johnson and Foreign Secretary Hunt are competing against each other to become the next Conservative leader.

The Conservative Party's 160,000 members will begin voting next week and Theresa May's successor is expected to be announced on 23 July.

In a speech in London later, Hunt will say the food and agriculture industry deserves to be treated in a similar way to the financial services industry in 2008, when banks received a multi-billion pound injection from the government.

If the UK left the EU without a deal, a government led by Hunt would cover the costs of the tariffs that would be imposed on the exports of the farming and fishing industries.

Hunt will promise to create a temporary ‘no deal relief program’ for the fishing and farming industry who export to Europe — aimed to be similar to US President Donald Trump's promise of £16 billion for farmers affected by Chinese tariffs.

He will also promise to set up a no-deal committee to make sure the government is ready to leave by 31 October, as well as a transport committee to keep goods moving through ports and airports.

"If you're a sheep farmer in Shropshire or a fishermen in Peterhead I have a simple message for you," Hunt is expected to say, "I know you face uncertainty if we have to leave the EU without a deal.

"I will mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on you and step in to help smooth those short term difficulties.

"If we could do it for the bankers in the financial crisis, we can do it for our fisherman, farmers and small businesses now."

The money would come from what Hunt calls a ‘no deal war chest’ — cash the current Chancellor Philip Hammond has earmarked for a no-deal departure.

Johnson has also said he would partly fund some of his plans from this Treasury money.

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it will automatically trade under the basic World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Under these rules, the tariffs will be different to what the UK currently trades under, which means the cost to farmers to export products could change or they could be affected by competition from abroad.

The government has already announced its plans for tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

A temporary scheme will see some tariffs protect farmers producing meat, while other sectors of farming will have low or no tariffs.

However, farming unions have warned against a no-deal Brexit, citing the impact of tariffs on agri-exports as a threat, and the National Farmers Union has said British farming will be ‘damaged’ if it happens.

Johnson promised to support the rural community after Brexit during a meeting with farmers in Cumbria last week.

When challenged about the potential impact leaving the EU without a deal would have on exports, Johnson said he did not want such an outcome and intended to negotiate a tariff free area with Europe.

He added that farmers "should be assured that we will support the rural community, with price support, efficiency payments, whatever".

On Sunday, Hunt said he would be prepared to pursue a no-deal Brexit ‘with a heavy heart’.

Johnson has previously said the UK must leave on 31 October ‘deal or no deal’ and that he would take the UK out of the EU by Halloween ‘come what may, do or die’.

In an interview with Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Johnson reiterated the commitment, saying he would take ‘personal responsibility’ for ensuring the UK leaves by that date, with or without a deal, as the current ‘drift and dither’ could not continue.

Johnson has continued to refuse to face Hunt in a head-to-head debate before ballot papers are sent out to the Tory membership.




Resource: BBC
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