Sheep Farming: No-deal EU Exit

Part of Election of Select Committee Chairs (Notice of Election) – in the House of Commons at 10:37 pm on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 10:37 pm, 3rd September 2019

I am going to conclude because we are running out of time.

Helen Goodman raised the important issue of whether we have the legal vires to make those interventions, and I can confirm that we do. The Government have a number of legislative vehicles with which to do so, including elements of retained EU law, and the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 also includes general grant-making powers that give us the ability to do so. We are considering two possible options. One is a headage payment on breeding ewes, should that be necessary. That would be important in the event that farmers producing lambs are the ones who have the shock to their income. The second option would be something called a slaughterhouse premium, which would in effect involve a supplementary top-up payment for lambs at the point of slaughter. We could use a combination of those options but, broadly speaking, a headage payment and income-support approach would be the right approach to adopt.