Thank you very much indeed for contacting me about the UK’s future agricultural policy. I read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raised.
Many amendments to the Agriculture Bill have been tabled. The Government are currently reflecting on these amendments, as well as concerns raised by colleagues and interested parties. I look forward to the Bill coming back to the House, at which point I will have the opportunity to vote on any amendments brought forward there.
Food and farming is a bedrock of our economy and environment, generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes. I am pleased that the Government will continue to commit the same cash total in funds for farm support until the end of this Parliament in 2022. Once we have the freedom to move away from the Common Agricultural Policy, the proposal is for an ‘agricultural transition’ period in England, allowing farmers to prepare for a new system.
Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. We can bring in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare. The Government proposes to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods: principally environmental enhancement.
Ministers have consulted widely with farmers and others, and have published the Agriculture Bill alongside their response; it focuses mostly on England because they recognise that devolution provides each administration with the powers to decide its own priorities.
We must take this opportunity to use public money to reward environmentally-responsible land use, as well as maintaining and enhancing high standards of animal welfare. I am convinced that we will harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us.
Once again thank you for taking the time to write to me and for bringing your views to my attention. I will pass on your concerns to the appropriate ministerial colleagues.
With best wishes.
Member of Parliament for Woking