Opinion – UK will need to import over half of its food within a generation, farmers warn | EurActiv – John Gelmini

The UK is already importing 75% of its food from overseas, with a lot of it disguised via firms like Union International Group (A British company owned by the Vestey tycoons), which import food from South America.

Deloittes agricultural consultancy arm reckons that any farm under 5000 acres is not financially viable and increasingly 5000 farms a year are going into bankruptcy, whilst more are being sold off because more and more young people across the UK and the world no longer wish to work in or on farms.

Some 150 farmers commit suicide every year and the Royal Navy as Dr Alf says is incapable of guarding our shipping lanes.
Former Admiral Lord West has pointed out that 17 escort vessels to accompany British shipping is a disgrace as is scrapping our one and only protection vessel.

We need to move to vertical farming, more widespread use of poly-tunnels and the use of low category prisoners and fine defaulters as ‘voluntary’ labor for hard pressed farmers.

Later on, we need to look at robots and automated tractors, combine harvesters, bailers and silage spreaders.

If we do not do this and build up our forces using National Service, then one day I can see an adversary threatening our food supply just like Germany did 100 years ago in World War 1 and then again with the U boat wolfpacks in World War 2.

That time may be faster than we think, given the fact that the age of fully cloaked stealth bombers and super-drones weighing 20 tons is upon us along with electronic countermeasures we are incapable of countering.

John Gelmini

Opinion – Economic Survey of the United Kingdom 2015 – OECD – Martin Augier

Yesterday, I reblogged an important article by OECD, which highlighted ‘sustainable bank lending’ as a barrier to growth. I added my usual ‘two cents’ and received an immediate reply from Martin Augier, which is re-published below. Martin and I were colleagues together at American Express in the mid-seventies. I value Martin’s judgement and insight, especially on this subject because of his career in financial services. These days, he’s arguing the case of the typical SME:

The Banks in the UK a little worse than useless. They really do not have too much competition and as a result generally offer similar products. As for lending criterion, they have managed to put together requirements which require for many property development loans, A debenture; 1st Charge on a property; A Valuation from their appointed valuer at my expense; A monitoring surveyor in the case of building project costing thousands of pounds, a fee to enter into the transaction and a fee to exit the transaction; a personal guarantee and as far as I can tell a mortgage over my wife, children and grandchildren!

The sooner we get some competition the better however I am not holding my breath as the regulatory requirements of the FCA together with the Capital restrictions from The Bank of England make life for any new entrant almost impossible.

I find it amazing that in many cases the bonus’ paid at year end are well in excess of the dividends paid to the shareholders and seem to bear no relation to the level of skill and risk involved.