I have very much enjoyed the observations from around these islands in this debate. I would like to reflect on the answer that the Minister gave me, and offer him an opportunity to expand on it a little in his summing up. I asked how Ministers in the UK Government would interact with the agricultural sector, its representative bodies—the NFU and the National Farmers Union of Scotland—and Ministers in the various devolved Administrations on how we take forward the next cycle of developing a post common agricultural policy, post-EU agricultural framework for the United Kingdom.
Although the devolved Administrations have substantive authority and control over many of these issues, they are necessarily subsidiary to the UK. I definitely wish that that was not the case, but in so far as it remains the case, it is incumbent on Ministers to take a co-operative and collegiate approach to setting objectives for developing, and delivering the very best for, our agricultural sector. I would like to hear how the Government intend to do that.
In the Minister’s response to a question from Mr Holden, we heard about the phasing of the changes as we evolve after the common agricultural policy, and about how that phasing would be undertaken. That is a key element of understanding exactly what farmers and representative bodies wish to see. As the Chair of the Select Committee pointed out, there are elements of the CAP that are worth keeping, and the Minister would do well to ensure that he liaises with people on the frontline of agriculture about what those elements are. There must be recognition that although the Bill bridges a gap, it does not give an opportunity for the meaningful transition of long-term planning. Many colleagues across the House have spoken about the need for investment in capital equipment and machinery because of the changes in the produce of farms. It is important that there is some indication or signposting about transferring and evolving the post-CAP scenario into something that will really deliver meaningful material change for agriculture.