Over a quarter of British farmers back a 'no-deal' Brexit

Brexit continues to have an impact (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Brexit continues to have an impact (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Alan Hutton on his sheep farm near Basingstoke in Hampshire. Britain is the world's third-largest lamb exporter and farmers there fear they will be left with a glut of product if there's no European trade deal. Photo: Jason Alden/Bloomberg
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Over a quarter of British farmers back leaving the EU with no deal, according to a new survey.

As in the original referendum, respondents were fairly evenly split on how they wanted the Brexit sorted out with the top two choices being a second referendum with a vote to remain (25pc) and, just squeaking into the lead with 26pc, a no-deal “hard” Brexit.

However, the Knight Frank Rural Sentiment Survey also found that a significant minority – almost 30pc – said their businesses had suffered financially in some shape or form, whether that was through lost business, putting plans on hold or spending time and money preparing for a no deal Brexit.

One respondent lamented: “I have been planning for my retirement and my plans are now completely up in the air.”

Much of the blame for the inability to strike a deal seems to be laid at the door of Brussels.

This is reflected in the responses when we asked if people would vote differently if they had a second chance.

While 84pc haven’t changed their minds, of those that had, almost 80pc said they would now vote leave instead of remain, a slightly higher proportion than when we asked the same question last year.

One of the themes running through the survey was a broad polarisation of respondents.

For example, there was a fairly even split between those planning to change their businesses to cope with the challenges and opportunities of Brexit and those maintaining the status quo.  Of those planning to make

changes, some kind of diversification was the most popular option, followed by putting more land into environmental schemes.

Online Editors