Johnson makes 'buy British' pledge to UK farmers

Prime Minister Boris Johnson trims a sheep as he visits the Royal Welsh Showground (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson trims a sheep as he visits the Royal Welsh Showground (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday pledged to use Brexit to introduce new state aid rules, change state purchasing policies and reform farming so that pubic bodies aim to “buy British” goods.

The Tory manifesto sets out that when the UK leaves the EU, a Johnson led Government will be able to encourage the public sector to ‘Buy British’ and which he says will support British farmers and reduce environmental costs.

He also plans to replace what the Conservatives have described as the bureaucratic, unfair and environmentally-damaging CAP with ‘public money for public goods’.

However, it said that farmers need stability, certainty and a smooth transition so we will not switch to our new system overnight. The Torys plan to establish a seven-year transition period so that changes can be introduced gradually.

Johnsons commitment to encourage the massive UK public service sector to buy British could impact Irish agri-food exports buy removing a key market outlet in the UK.

It comes as  rose as British cattle prices rose for the third consecutive week last week, up 0.6p to 324.9p/kg, reducing the gap with last years’ price to 32.4p.

The increase was primarily driven by steer prices, with the overall average for this category climbing by over a penny.

IFA President Joe Healy said that the new Beef Price tracker indices published last week by Bord Bia show that Irish beef farmers are due a price increase, with Irish beef prices now 17c behind the Bord Bia Prime Export Benchmark price.

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“Beef prices in our main export market in the UK have turned the corner and are rising. In addition, sterling has strengthened considerably in recent weeks. UK cattle prices are at the equivalent of €4.07/kg incl. vat., which is 45c/kg or €162 per head more than Irish prices, which are stuck at €3.62/kg incl. vat," he said.

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