The UK had a very positive week which saw British exporters, including grain prices, benefiting from the dip in the value of the pound, thus making British goods cheaper abroad.
Lord Price, Trade Minister, and former Waitrose boss, said while visiting Hong Kong, that Brexit has offered a ‘unique opportunity’ to shape a bright future for the UK as a global trading nation. He predicted a ‘fresh start’ and opportunity for the country to become a ‘super-connected’ trading hub.
He added, ‘freed now from Brussels with its bureaucratic tendencies, we are able to tackle any excessive red tape which chokes small businesses. And, ‘we can also make our tax system even more competitive, helping local businesses to grow, and attract investment from overseas.
Mark Elbourne, head of General Electric USA said, the UK is a good place to do business, and he will actively be holding trade talks. Countries including Australia, New Zealand and South Korea are lining up to do the same.
The CEO of the European branch of Haitong – China’s first global investment bank, plans an event at the London Stock exchange, to which influential politicians, including Andrea Leadsom, will be invited to address business leaders, fund managers, Chinese corporates, think tanks and other interested parties. They wish to establish how Brexit may help re-position the UK in the world, and in particular, create a more meaningful partnership with China – the second largest economy in the world.
They are committed to the City and it is their desire to grow their business, as London is the hub of Haitong’s international business and plays an integral part in their global expansion.
The IMF reported last week, that they believe we are right to unshackle ourselves from the crumbling European Union, and Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong want to form a banking and financial alliance with London. And India and China are also enthusiastically approaching London to strengthen their trade links.
One has to wonder, why the ‘establishment’, including the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, are so determined to talk down the future of the City of London and the UK.
It is interesting to note that France, Germany and Italy’s stock indices have performed worse than ours. The FTSE 250, which reflects UK centric firms, is 6pc lower than when we voted, when the City assumed Remain would win, and is now 4pc above its February low, when it was also assumed the UK would vote to stay in.
Each year in June I receive a communication from DEFRA telling me I have been ‘selected’ for the Survey of Agriculture, Horticulture and Labour. This is qualified by adding that the survey is compulsory under the Agricultural Statistics Act 1979 and is EU law.
Looking back in the file, I note that we have been completing the four page form since 1980. It required the Holding’s acreage, and details of crops grown, and the number of workers and livestock, and a signature.
This year the form is twelve pages long, and requires (under European legislation) very detailed information on the farm structure. In addition to the above, we are now required to tell them ‘who is financially and legally responsible for the Holding. Which family members are involved either day to day, weekly, monthly or occasionally? The age and sex of the principle holder, principle manager, principle holder’s spouse, and similar information on regular and casual workers.
Also how much time each person spends working on the farm, or away from the farm. What training each has had, practically, formally and when? And who is related to whom.
It also enquires about commercial diversification activities, and the percentage of total turnover relating to each enterprise. About water, tillage, crop rotation and manure application.
The questions on the additional eight pages are no business of the EU or DEFRA, and they will receive from me only the same data which has been supplied for the past thirty seven years.
The NFU can note that when discussing the future of farming after Brexit with Defra, such intrusive questioning is definitely unacceptable. We are not state owned - yet!