THE details of the UK’s departure from the European Union could be decided in the coming days. Local Democracy Reporter JOSEPH TIMAN looks at the prospect of a no-deal scenario in Bolton and how the council is preparing for Brexit.

A NO-DEAL scenario would be a ‘catastrophe’ for farmers in Bolton, according to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

If Britain leaves without a trade deal, it would not be allowed to export any live animals or animal-based products to the EU for months.

The borough’s sheep farmers could be hit the hardest by this as 94 per cent of meat exports in the industry goes to the EU.

NFU North West spokesman Carl Hudspith said: “In a no-deal scenario, there would effectively be a trade embargo on the export of UK animals and animal-based products (meat, eggs, dairy) to the EU.”

The EU requires third countries, which the UK would be in the case of no-deal, to be listed as an approved country for export.

The UK has applied for this approval but it cannot be certain of the EU’s response or of its timing.

The NFU understands the process could take a minimum of six months.

Until this approval is granted, the UK could not export any live animals or animal-based products to the EU.

Mr Hudspith added: “This is a huge concern for the lamb industry around Bolton which would be particularly impacted.”

The Bolton News:

In 2017, 31 per cent of domestic sheep meat production was exported and 94 per cent was destined for the EU.

Up at Higher Knoll Farm, it is the uncertainty of Brexit that is the biggest cause for concern.

Megan Needham who works on the farm in Rivington said that even if a trade deal is secured, the uncertainty of Brexit is leaving the family-business in limbo.

She said: “It’s not just our farm, it’s all farmers because it means uncertainty. Nothing’s been said. It’s the uncertainty of what will happen going into the future.”

Aside from trade, farmers also rely on the EU for payments which come in several forms.

Farmers in Bolton received more than £7.4m in the four years up to 2017 through the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund and European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Dairy farmer Michael Partington who runs Deardens Farm in Over Hulton said that this funding is important for farmers.

He said: “Funding is important because without it we can’t carry on. There’s been times when without that payment I wouldn’t be here.”

Late last year, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that in a no-deal scenario, the government would guarantee these payments for at least another year.

The Bolton News:

In January, the government also announced that local authorities will be given money to prepare for an “orderly” exit from the EU.

Bolton Council will receive £210,000 over two financial years for contingency planning ahead of the UK’s departure.

However, it is currently unclear exactly how local authorities will spend this money.

A Bolton Council spokesman said: “The council has business continuity plans in place to make sure we can continue our services. Departments are going through their plans to make sure they are robust should problems occur.”

Greater Manchester Combined Authority will get an additional £182,000 to prepare for Brexit.

Bolton North East MP Sir David Crausby said a no-deal scenario would be an “absolute disaster”, but he thinks it’s unlikely to happen.

He said: “I don’t believe there will be a no-deal scenario, although anything is possible in this political environment.

“To some extent, politicians overreact and say things that really won’t happen. In this circumstance, a no-deal Brexit will be a catastrophe.”

He met with a big Bolton employer last week who said that a no-deal scenario would force the company into making 25 per cent of its workforce redundant.

He said: “The issue was that we should go for anything but a no-deal. They would have preferred a deal in the sense that it gives stability.”

READ MORE: what Bolton MPs will be voting on in Westminster this week

Sir David spoke passionately in the House of Commons earlier this year urging MPs to stay calm.

He described the Prime Minister’s withdrawal deal as a “betrayal” and called for an extension to the process of leaving the EU.

He said: “The problem we have is that I’m of the view that Theresa May’s deal is the worst of all worlds, except for no deal. Effectively staying in the EU with no say.

“It seems to me that the right thing to do in this circumstance is recognise that 48 per cent voted to stay and 52 per cent voted to leave. So, what we need is a relatively soft Brexit. Membership of the customs union and a close relationship with the single market.”

The Bolton News:

The Labour MP will be voting against Theresa May’s deal and, assuming it does not pass, against a no-deal scenario.

He added: “I’d be very surprised. I don’t see how it could pass. And I’m confident there will be a big majority against a no-deal Brexit.”

Dairy, beef and sheep farmers can be found across Bolton, but most are thought to be in the west of the borough.

Bolton West MP Chris Green said he would prefer a “managed no-deal” over the Prime Minister’s deal.

He said: “Whatever the outcome, I am going to do my utmost to ensure that British farmers and manufacturers are protected from the EU, as well as get the benefits from leaving.”

What the EU spends money on in Bolton

£1.9 million

To support farmers through the European agricultural guarantee and rural development funds in 2017

£6.3 million

Towards 26 research projects by both private companies and the university over a number of years

£2.5 million

To support 54 education, training, youth and sport projects with partners around the borough


Towards an initiative to underline the importance of innovations in all sectors of the economy


To fund 27 per cent of a research project on novel electrochemical plasma technology


To improve services for vulnerable job seekers, employees and their employers

Open source data from