Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 10th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 2:03 pm, 10th October 2018

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point. We have to ensure that applying for grants is simple enough for all famers, not just the big landowners who can employ offices full of people to do that, and I believe that we can. With some of the ideas coming forward about how we make payments, we can also ensure that, as we transition, family farms and smaller applicants can have less taken from them in the first instance. There are ways we can make this much more palatable.

Upland farming, which the Secretary of State mentioned, is very important, especially because of lamb and beef production. It is coupled with that great environment on the hillside, and we will not be able to pay public money just to keep sheep and cattle on the hillside; we have to ensure that they are profitable. Profit is what will drive this because—this point has already been made—if you are in the black, you can go more green. That is absolutely essential.

We produce great food. We also have a very effective poultry industry, although sometimes that is not mentioned. That is why we can produce good-quality chickens for under £5. Let us look at how we deal with our food industry and our production.