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On the fence: UK farmers in Brexit split

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 01:39

British farmers remain divided over whether Brexit is in their interests. Ivor Bennett reports on the conversations going on in the English countryside, as British Prime Minister David Cameron heads to Brussels to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership.

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Every flock has one, and in Europe's case, the black sheep is most certainly Britain- Attempts to renegotiate its membership of the EU, in some cases, have met stiff opposition. But for many UK farmers, being part of the flock is far too much of a burden. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FARMER, ROBERT LAW, SAYING: "When I came into farming, I spent 95% of my time out on the farm working. Now I spend 95% of my time administrating." Farmers like Robert Law were big supporters of EU membership when Britain first voted on it in 1975. But since then, 9 members have become 28, bringing with them more regulation. Leaving the EU, though, may not change that, says former Farmers' Union President Peter Kendall. since most of his, and other farmers', customers are within the bloc. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER NATIONAL UNION OF FARMERS PRESIDENT AND FARMER, SIR PETER KENDALL, SAYING: "Who knows what conditions would be imposed. I suspect that any access would mean we have to meet all the conditions, all the regulations that are already imposed without us having any input or say in how those regulations are formulated." Money is also a worry. At the moment, British farmers receive 3 billion pounds a year from Brussels - more than half the industry's income. George Chichester from Strutt and Parker estate agents. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PARTNER AT STRUTT AND PARKER, GEORGE CHICHESTER, SAYING: "If we come out of Europe, then the subsidy support would have to come from the UK government. Then we have to compete with the many demands from the UK purse, at a time when we have massive public sector debt and private debt as well." Arguments on both sides then for the grass being greener. A debate that'll only get louder the closer we get to a vote.

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On the fence: UK farmers in Brexit split

Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 01:39