Agriculture Bill

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

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

My right hon. Friend and constituency neighbour makes a really good point. We must redouble our efforts to encourage our armed forces, our schools and our health service to procure our high-quality British food. Let us ensure that we can feed our nation with our food, because that is absolutely essential.

I also think that healthy food, as a public good, can be recognised naturally across the piece. This is an agricultural Bill, but if we think about the NHS, we could save nearly £2 billion when we consider the type of healthy food that we can produce. Buying from local producers will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint and improve the environment, so we also need joined-up thinking about future-proofing the Bill. If we weaken our farming sector to the extent that we have to import more food from abroad, there will be many consequences. When we import food from other countries, we also import their water and their means of production, and some countries can little afford that. We have to ensure that we continue to produce good, high-quality food and that, if possible, we produce more of it in future.