Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 10th October 2018.

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Photo of Ben Lake Ben Lake Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion 4:04 pm, 10th October 2018

I will not as time is against me.

What role will the devolved Governments play in the process? How will future disputes be resolved? Only if financial frameworks are developed jointly by all four countries will they be sustainable and reflective of the needs of each. The Welsh and UK Governments believe that policy areas can be managed through non-legislative intergovernmental co-ordination, but I fear that that approach is unrealistic for questions of funding.

I would argue that an intergovernmental body is necessary to address any market distortions that may arise from policy divergence, which is not unlikely when we consider that on direct payments, for example, divergence looks possible between Scotland and Northern Ireland on the one hand, and between England and Wales on the other. Each nation should decide its own agricultural policy, but an intergovernmental body is required to address any issues that cause an imbalance in the market or unfairly disadvantage one country over another. The existing structures are not fit for that purpose.

I conclude by reiterating the need for any future financial frameworks to be agreed, built and maintained in co-operation between the four nations. When the Minister responds to the debate, perhaps he could assure farmers that such decisions will be made on the basis of shared governance and that the unique characteristics of the industries in each country will be supported accordingly. I am afraid to say that, at present, such an assurance is lacking.