Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 10th October 2018.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 1:06 pm, 10th October 2018

Absolutely; the consumption of more fruit and vegetables is critical to improving public health. I am delighted that, thanks to the lobbying of my hon. Friend and so many Conservative Members, we were able to introduce a seasonal workers scheme pilot to ensure that fruit and vegetable growers get the support that they deserve. We will also have new schemes—improved over those that the EU provides—to ensure that the producer organisations that represent our growers continue to do the brilliant job that they do.

I should stress that the Bill will also ensure that the UK can take its seat at the World Trade Organisation and negotiate on behalf of the whole United Kingdom. Some people have suggested that the Bill constitutes a power grab from our devolved Administrations—nothing could be further from the truth. The Bill will empower the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Government and the Scottish Government to do what they believe is right for our farmers, and what is right for our farmers is to move away from a system that has constrained their energy, undermined their enterprise, held back innovation in food production and inadequately rewarded them not only for the food that they provide, but for the environmental and other goods that they provide for us.

The Bill gives us an opportunity to put farming across the United Kingdom on a surer footing, so that we can produce more, sell more and export more, but also hand on our environment in a better state to the next generation. I commend it to the House.