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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

We will be looking carefully at all aspects of the scheme. This is a hugely challenging thing to deliver, which is why we will phase it in over seven years. Of course, it is essential to get the funds to the farmers who are delivering the public goods that we want to secure. Because change always brings its challenges, to ease the introduction of the new system, we will adopt a seven-year transition period, and the Bill is a vital step in smoothing the path towards the start of that period.

This legislation may be less radical than the forthcoming Agriculture Bill, but it is still vital for the livelihood of farmers across our United Kingdom. I hope that Members will give their backing to this short but crucial legislation, so that we can give our farmers continuity, certainty and support as we move towards exit day and our departure from the European Union. The Bill provides a stepping stone to a more profitable, more productive, more resilient and more sustainable future for farming in this country, so that our hard-working farmers can continue to produce high-quality, high-welfare, iconic British food that is prized around the world and appreciated so much by all of us here at home. I commend the Bill to the House.