On the 23rd of June the UK is going to be voting on whether to remain a part of the European Union,
or to leave. This vote is probably the most important vote we’ll participate in within a generation
and, therefore, it is important to be informed about both sides of the argument.
At Crediton Milling, as animal feed suppliers to many farms around the south west, we know how important this vote is to the farming industry and community.
Although we won’t be declaring an official ‘in’ or ‘out’ stance, we understand how important it is to
openly discuss the headline issues for both sides of the campaign and help members of farming
community come to their own conclusions.
The Remain campaign:
David Cameron has worked closely with other EU leaders to reach an agreement about the
UK’s status within the EU if we vote to stay. Some of the changes that Cameron has agreed
are in regard to child benefit and other benefits that migrant workers from the EU can claim
when they work in the UK, he has also maintained a strong position of keeping the pound
and not using the euro if we remain.
The UK job market is an area which has come under scrutiny in regards to the impact of the
referendum and there have been arguments that millions of UK jobs are reliant on the EU,
which voting to leave then jeopardises. Another huge part of our EU membership is trade;
60% of our exports are to EU countries which equates to £11 billion. Leaving the EU may
mean having to renegotiate trade deals with the EU, which carries risks and uncertainties.
Being a part of the EU gives us a large amount of influence on the world and can help us
negotiate for better terms with other countries.
Another argument for staying part of the EU is the freedom of movement that we enjoy. We
can easily work and travel across other EU countries and leaving would almost certainly
mean losing this.
Having a close link to the EU also means that we benefit from their information on criminals.
The European Arrest Warrant means that criminals that have fled from the European
country where they committed the crime, can be found and extradited for prosecution. The
National Crime Agency uses the information acquired through these Warrants to find
criminals who are in the UK and can them extradite them, and in the reverse the NCA can
also issue Warrants for criminals who are located in other EU countries to be extradited to
the UK for prosecution.
In regards to the farming industry, being part of the EU currently means that our farmers get
annual subsidies worth an estimated £2.4 billion a year — accounting for between 35-50% of
gross farming incomes. If we left the EU then these subsidies would stop and, unless
replaced by the UK government, dramatically decrease the number of sustainable farms in
The Leave campaign:
One of the main arguments for the Leave campaign is the cost of EU membership to the UK.
In 2015 the UK paid an estimated £8.5 billion pounds to the EU. Leaving would obviously
mean not having to pay these membership fees.
Another aspect which is high on the Leave agenda is immigration, if we leave the EU then we
can regain full control over our borders and have tighter controls over who enters the UK.
Currently, the Leave campaign is arguing for the introduction of a ‘points’ system, of the like
in Australia, to regulate who enters the country and ensure that they are of economic
benefit to society.
There is also emphasis on other countries which are not part of the EU and who are thriving,
Norway is an example of this. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a part of the
European Economic Area (EEA) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) which
means that it can trade freely with the EU without incurring tariffs and fees. EU citizens are
also able to go to Norway to work and travel like they can within any other EU country.
However, as Norway is part of the freedom of movement of workers in the EU, this model
does not work with the implementation of stricter border controls, as is being discussed by
the leave campaign.
Leaving the EU would also mean more control over policies which affect different aspects of
life in the UK, for example policies regarding rural areas and farming. There are arguments
that we could change environmental policies to be more UK specific instead of EU wide,
which would cater for the difference in our national climate and environments that need
different policies and regulations.
We understand that the Referendum is a complex topic, and know that there are many other
arguments for both sides of the campaign. In consideration of the farming community we work with,
we have chosen to highlight headline arguments from the campaign. We encourage everybody to
read further into the different campaigns and gain greater insight and understanding of what the
result of the referendum could mean for us as a country and a farming community.