Farming ‘not important’ to economy – senior UK government aide

One of the most senior (UK) government advisors has apparently said that Britain does not need its farming or fishing industries.

That’s according to a plethora of media reports in the UK – emanating from comments that the Mail on Sunday became aware of through leaked emails.

Dr. Tim Leunig – economic adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak – is believed to have said that the food sector was “not critically important” to the wider UK economy.

It is also reported (in multiple outlets) that Dr. Leunig argued that agriculture and fisheries “certainly isn’t [important to the economy]”.

In the leaked emails, Dr. Leunig reportedly suggested that ministers could follow the example of Singapore, which is “rich without having its own agricultural sector”.

The Mail on Sunday reports that he apparently highlighted figures suggesting that the UK food sector adds about 0.5% in additional value to the economy.

Some outlets claim that he questioned the tax breaks given to farmers but denied to other industries.

In the aftermath of the leaked emails, the government has apparently distanced itself from these comments.

A statement said: “We have made clear [that] the comments are not in line with government policy.” It is understood that Dr. Leunig was not speaking in an official capacity – in his Treasury role.