The EU and food poverty

There is here a rather interesting podcast with Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge and the Shadow Farming and Food Spokesman.

He impressed me as being very much more in command of his brief than the actual minister, who is from a wealthy Cornish farming family and MP for Redruth and Camborne, the last a town where there is so much poverty that famously some children have never seen the sea which is barely three miles away at the sands of Portreath.

The podcast points out that the UK global tariff, will, in the absence of an agreement with the EU, be required under WTO terms, which will mean up to 20% duties on things like tomatoes, olive oil and even that British ‘staple’ (in fact a war-time invention from imported products – now ironically re-exported around the world) baked beans.

Jack Monroe has helpfully supplied some recipes giving the current price, together with the price that will be the case if we leave without any EU agreement.

Britain currently rejoices in being an uncertain home to 1 in 5 of the food insecure in the whole of Europe according to Daniel Zeichner, which I’m afraid, in spite of some pretty poor members of Europe, I now do not find difficult to believe.

The most obvious disadvantage for food insecure children is a difficult and less than optimal education.

This is a scandal – children are our future. Why do we not wish to offer them every chance to make their – and our – lives better – and in turn their offspring too?

And then we have the roughly 30% of our food – and remember the UK is not food sufficient – coming from the EU.

No rational individual would understand why we might wish to imperil that with bureaucratic delay when the current system is ‘Just in Time’. Meanwhile of course a mere insignificant 80% of the supply chain is unprepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Some suggest that Covid-19 has taught us how to solve this problem, but actually it has not – because, in fact there are (and still are till the end of this year) no barriers to importing food. That is simple logistics.

But come January 1st 2021, Covid-19 or not, there will be highly complex and bureaucratic logistics.

Is that really what Brexiters voted for?