'Meat tax' could lead to price rises as UK farmers warn they may go out of business

30 October 2021, 09:36 | Updated: 30 October 2021, 09:50

George Eustice discussed carbon taxes
George Eustice discussed carbon taxes. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

New meat taxes appear to have been backed by the environment secretary ahead of the Cop26 climate talks.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The idea, which could see the cost of meat rise, came as George Eustice said the UK would need to introduce carbon taxes in the future.

But farmers have warned if the same does not happen in other countries, British farmers would face going out of business.

Mr Eustice told the Telegraph that the Government is putting together a new system to tax parts of the food sector which are among the worst for the environment, including meat and dairy.

He said changes to the £3.5 billion subsidy given out by the EU for farmers would be altered to ensure they are incentivised to produce food that is more environmentally-friendly over the next seven years - but something would have to be implemented after.

Read more: 'If we don't act now, it'll be too late': PM urges leaders to deliver on climate pledges

Read more: COP26: What could be decided at the key climate summit?

Greta arrives at London protest ahead of COP26

"Beyond that, you then start to move into the realms of things like carbon taxes. But we need to do the thinking about it now," he told the newspaper.

The minister also said carbon border taxes could be introduced to "encourage" places like Australia and New Zealand "to tackle their own greenhouse gas emissions" and plans to use trade for environmental causes "supposes that you would move in the direction of carbon emissions trading" in Britain's farming sector first.

But Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers' Union, told LBC's Andrew Castle: "If we start to tax farmers here and we don't expect the same of other countries that we are importing a lot more food from - we've just signed a deal obviously with New Zealand and with Australia - and we're planning to completely liberalise.

"So if you're going to tax farmers here, not tax farmers in other countries, that's just going to put our farmers out of business."

Farmers union boss claims more livestock improves climate

The meat tax proposal comes ahead of the crucial UN climate talks in Glasgow.

Boris Johnson will welcome leaders to Cop26 in which it is hoped countries will agree to ways to ensure net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century, limiting temperatures to a 1.5 degree rise.

It came as his official spokesman warned: "Cop26 needs to mark the beginning of the end of climate change.

"The next few days are a critical moment for world leaders to demonstrate that they can show the climate ambition needed.

"The success of COP26 still hangs in the balance.

"Too many countries are doing too little.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Don Henley

I never gave away draft lyrics of Hotel California, Eagles singer tells trial

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán

Hungary approves Sweden's bid to join Nato as the military alliance expands in the face of Russia's war in Ukraine

Election 2024 Trump

Judge in Trump hush-money case asked to issue gag order on former president

Brits have been warned to prepare for heavy snowfall later this week - with some areas forecast to face up to six inches.

Exact areas snow could fall this week as Brits told to prepare for up to six-inches while others warned of torrential rain

Sir Lindsay Hoyle is facing renewed pressure to step down as Commons Speaker

'He's not fit to stay in the role': SNP Westminster leader calls for Sir Lindsay Hoyle to step down over ceasefire debate

Paul Scully claimed the cities had 'no-go' areas.

Fury as Tory MP claims there are religious ‘no-go’ areas in Birmingham and London as party's Islamophobia row deepens

Charlotte Church has been criticised for the chant being used at the concert

Charlotte Church says she is 'in no way anti-Semitic' after singing controversial 'from the river to the sea' chant

Hungarian parliament

Hungary’s parliament votes to ratify Sweden’s application to join Nato

Police have recruited the diver who helped assist the search for Nicola Bulley.

Cops recruit Nicola Bulley 'expert' diver to assist in search for boy Xielo Maruziva, 2, who fell into River Soar

St. Vincent Grenada Hijacked Yacht

Hijackers threw elderly couple overboard after capturing yacht, police say

Fawziyah Javed (l) and Kashif Anwar (r)

The woman who caught her own killer: Pregnant lawyer's last words helped jail murderer who pushed her off cliff

Three Just Stop Oil protesters have been found guilty of aggressive trespass after disrupting a Wimbledon tennis match

Three Just Stop Oil protesters found guilty of aggravated trespass after disrupting Wimbledon tennis matches

Father Felice Palamara was presiding over Mass in the small town of Cessaniti, Calabria, in the southern region of Italy when he noticed an acrid smell coming from the wine

Priest handed poisoned chalice after mafia hitman spikes holy communion wine with bleach

Passengers told 'do not travel' amid train delays and cancellations after 'major signalling fault' strikes the South East

Chaos on the trains: Rush-hour passengers face severe delays after landslip grinds services to a halt

WTO director-general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Global economy weighed down by war, uncertainty and instability, says WTO chief

Donald Trump and his lawyers

Trump to appeal against £350m judgment made against him in fraud lawsuit