On Wednesday 10 June 2020 the Agriculture Bill returned to the House of Lords for its Second Reading.
Having kept its promise to leave the EU, the Conservative Government has an opportunity to replace the inefficient Common Agricultural Policy with a new system that works for and rewards our hard-working farmers.
The Agriculture Bill will introduce a new support system that works for our farmers – based on the concept of public money for public goods – by rewarding them for the work they do to safeguard the environment, helping us meet crucial goals on climate change.
The Government is transforming British farming for the better, and will maintain the highest possible animal welfare and agricultural standards as it builds new trading relationships as an independent nation.
Through the landmark Agriculture Bill the Government is:
Establishing a new Environmental Land Management scheme to reward farmers that protect the environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality, sustainable food. Moving away from the bureaucracy and inefficiency of CAP, our new system will pay farmers for ‘public goods’ that benefit society, such as clean air and water. This will incentivise work that enhances the environment, such as tree or hedge planting, river management to mitigate flooding, or creating or restoring habitats for wildlife.
Promoting higher animal welfare standards. We have no intention of seeing a reduction in animal welfare standards and will establish publicly funded schemes to help farmers deliver animal health and welfare enhancements which go beyond the legal requirements – leading to higher standards and practices. All existing EU food safety provisions, including existing import requirements, will be transferred on to the UK statute book through the EU Withdrawal Act. Removing these would require new legislation.
Boosting agricultural productivity and championing British producers. The Bill supports farmers to farm more innovatively and efficiently, maximising the potential of land for food production, and to help them reduce their emissions. New grants will be available from 2021 for investment in the latest equipment and technology to boost productivity, and we will make the supply chain is more transparent – ensuring it is fairer for our world-renowned food producers so that they can remain competitive.
Ensuring farmers have the funding and certainty they need to plan for the future. We have already announced that Direct Payments for 2020 will remain the same as last year, providing certainty to farmers and food producers, and are committed to matching the current budget available to farmers in every year of this Parliament while direct payments are phased out and replaced with this new system.