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Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 21st January 2020.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 12:31 pm, 21st January 2020

My hon. Friend will be pleased to hear that clause 1 of the Agriculture Bill, which Parliament will have the chance to consider very soon, does recognise the importance of access to the countryside, and to our culture and heritage, by listing that as one of the public goods that we can potentially support through our new farm support scheme. He makes an important point.

I am pleased to say that the Chancellor confirmed on 30 December that overall levels of funding available for direct payments for 2020 will be the same as those for 2019, so the Government will provide £2.852 billion of support, topping up remaining EU funding. That announcement from the Chancellor, combined with this Bill, provides reassurance to the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that they will be able to issue basic payments to their farmers in 2020. All four Administrations have said that these payments will be made, and that is in addition to the £216.6 million of further funding secured in the summer for farmers in Scotland and Wales.