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Hadlow Group Comments on Publication of The Bank of England Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions

Posted on 26th June 2017 in General

The Bank of England Agents' Summary of Business Conditions, published on the 21st June, shows that during Q2, export volume growth has continued to increase, supported by the lower sterling exchange rate and stronger world growth. UK food and drink exports have already seen record growth in Q1 and if Britain is on the verge of an export boom, as some economists have predicted, this is very encouraging news for the farming, food and drink sector.

With this potential increased demand for UK products overseas, The Hadlow Group would like to see the Government position farming and food at the very top of its agenda, encouraging producers to export to new markets post-Brexit by providing the necessary support. 

As outlined in its rural manifesto, the Hadlow Group believes that our farmers and growers are capable of increasing production to meet this increased export demand, but they need helpful Government policies to assist them. This increased production would also reduce our dependence on imported food, something many analysts agree is crucial in the current climate of uncertainty.

The UK’s farmers and growers are immensely skilled, but they are often hampered by unhelpful regulations and hindered by unnecessary documentation - red tape must be reduced and fair tax reforms introduced. Assistance for smaller-scale sustainable farms will be particularly vital. The UK Government must effect bilateral trade agreements and look to the example set by Bord Bia for driving international demand for agri-food and drink exports.

It is estimated that the world will need to feed 8 billion people by 2025, so demand for graduate and skilled entrants to some agriculture and horticulture sectors is reaching crisis point. Technology is advancing to meet the increased export need and graduates are crucial to drive innovation in this progressively high-tech sector. The Government must proactively alert young people to the wide range of highly skilled career opportunities offered in farming and food production and, with Brexit negotiations underway, DEFRA must ramp up their championing of British produce at key international tradeshows.    

With government backing, can we build on the successes of the agri-food industry to support further growth, the creation of new jobs and the supply of highly skilled graduates needed to fill them. Ensuring the UK is self-reliant as well as maximising international trade opportunities for the farming, food and drink sector are key issues post-Brexit, with Hadlow College’s next generation of farmers and growers fundamental to their success.

Hadlow College featured in a report on yesterday’s Sunday Politics programme on BBC1, with Group Deputy Principal and CEO, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, discussing some of the issues mentioned above. View the programme on iPlayer here (report begins at 40:17):  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08vd4nf/sunday-politics-south-east-25062017 

For more information, contact: Philip Orrell, Hadlow Group PR and Media Manager, Tel: 01732 372794, philip.orrell@hadlow.ac.uk

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