Thank you for contacting me about the impact of the UK's decision to leave the European Union on farming, food and the environment. Please let me reassure you that I am wholly committed to ensuring that our farming industry continues to thrive following our departure from the EU.
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.
British farming has been tethered to the Common Agricultural Policy for almost fifty years. The EU rules it binds us in are over-complicated, inflexible, burdensome and outdated. This is no surprise. We could never expect rules designed for 28 different countries, with vast variations in climate, landscape and production, to be right for the UK.
Ministers have consulted widely with farmers and others, and have published the Agriculture Bill alongside their response; to establish a new framework for agriculture following the UK's withdrawal from the European Union and the Common Agricultural Policy. It focuses mostly on England because they recognise that devolution provides each administration with the powers to decide its own priorities. They are keenly aware of the importance of seasonal labour, so will work with the industry to ensure it has the right people with the right skills.
Leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. Starting from first principles 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 - an 'agricultural transition' from the current system of direct payments to farmers based principally on land holdings.
Agriculture is key to achieving a Green Brexit. This Bill will allow us to create an agricultural system that rewards farmers and land managers who protect our environment, acting as nature's stewards to leave behind a cleaner, healthier legacy for future generations. It seeks to provide for, to one of paying public money for public goods.
From a healthier environment to better countryside access to higher animal welfare standards, this Bill will allow agricultural payments to target the things that matter to the public. The Government's pilot 'payment by results' project is already paying dividends.
I am convinced that we will continue to harness this opportunity and ensure that our best days as a food and farming nation lie ahead of us.
For further information on how I am supporting you in Parliament, you can access details of my contribution to the debate during the second reading of the Agriculture Bill on Wednesday 10 October 2018 on the "TheyWorkForYou" website link:
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.