Many of my constituents have written to me about the Agriculture Bill and below is my response I sent off over the weekend. Do get back to me about your thoughts or any concerns/questions you may have:
I wanted to get in touch since you have written to me in the past about government policy on agriculture. I wanted to let you know that that the Agriculture Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act of Parliament.
Key elements of the Act include:
- A requirement for Government to consider the need to encourage the production of food in England, in an environmentally sustainable way
- Gives powers to Government (as opposed to the EU) to develop new farm support approaches in England
- Gives Ministers powers to intervene in agricultural markets in exceptional conditions, such as to provide farmers with financial support or operate public intervention and private storage aid schemes
- Sets out measures to increase transparency and fairness in the supply chain for farmers and food producers
- Sets out provisions to enable the UK to meet its obligations under the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture.
- The Government will also be required to set out multi-annual plans about how they will use their financial assistance powers in addition to being required to report on food security at least once every five years
Key stakeholders such as the National Farmers Union have hailed the Agricultural Act, saying that “it makes a new era for British food and farming”. Indeed, encouraging to know is the NFU has explicitly expressed their recognition in this Act that “food production and caring for the environment go hand-in-hand”. Prominent environmental groups like Wildlife and Countryside LINK have also welcomed the Act, stating that “continued support for public goods’ is welcome” and the organization moreover pays tribute to accountability and reporting systems the Government will need to adhere to.
Important to note is the Government going forward will continue to listen closely to concerns raised by stakeholders on agricultural policy and engage with these groups.
In essence, I am pleased this Act seals in law the UK moving from the top-down Common Agricultural Policy to a system of having authority to make decisions covering all aspects of domestic agriculture policy. As the transition period with the EU comes to an end January 1, 2021, we as a nation will now be able to design a domestic agricultural policy which I believe will champion British food by improving transparency and fairness in the supply chain. In addition, this will allow us to make our own decisions in investing in new technology and research to ensure our food producers remain competitive and innovative - vastly increasing the environmental benefits and boosting our productivity as a nation.
You may be interested in reading the Act here: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/2551 and more explanation on the Act can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/landmark-agriculture-bill-becomes-law
Thank you again for our communication with me in the past on this important issue. As your MP, I welcome your thoughts and any questions you may have on this matter.
Mims Davies MP
Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA | 020 7219 6853 | www.mimsdavies.org.uk
Suite B, KBF House, 55 Victoria Road, Burgess Hill, RH15 9LH | 01444 616061
To sign up for Mims’ regular newsletter click here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/
For the latest information on COVID-19 click here: https://www.mimsdavies.org.uk/news/covid-19
For the Government website’s COVID-19 page click here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus