CLA responds to Agriculture Bill outcome

14 May 2020

The Agriculture Bill was debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday for the report stage and subsequent third reading.

Following the outcome, the CLA has issued the following response.

CLA President Mark Bridgeman said:

Transition

“It is deeply frustrating that calls to delay the start of the transition from direct payments has been ignored by the UK Government.

“It’s crucial, more than ever, that farming businesses are given the right information so they can plan for the future and adapt to the new system.

“The Environmental Land Management Scheme has the potential to be a world leading land management policy and it deserves to succeed – but if the transition starts before the details are fully understood then it puts farmers in a very difficult position.  Government should publish full details of how the new schemes will work in practice and how we will transition, as soon as possible.”

Trade

“We’re also disappointed that the trade amendments didn’t pass.”

“It was notable that a wide coalition of farming organisations and environmentalists came together to make our concerns known.  We hope the Lords will allow for more time to closely scrutinise the risks to food production in this country of not having a level playing field with international competitors in the next stage of the Bill.”

“We owe it to British consumers to ensure that any food that we import under any potential trade deals meet the same high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection as is expected of UK food producers. Importing food produced to low animal welfare and environmental standards to undercut UK farmers is unacceptable.”

Earlier in the week, the CLA teamed up with rural organisations to write to all 650 MPs and urge them to ensure the new Agriculture Bill includes vital safeguards on food and animal welfare standards. You can read the letter in full here.