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Incorporation of EU legislation governing the CAP direct payment schemes

Part of Direct Payments to Farmers (Legislative Continuity) Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:46 pm on 28th January 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 2:46 pm, 28th January 2020

Absolutely. The Government and the Minister have ensured today that the regional Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are part of this project together. It is my hope that, under this Bill as it is coming forward, direct payments can continue. I would like them to continue long beyond that, but this process moves us towards where we need to be.

There is a very important point for Northern Ireland. The Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish, referred to this earlier, and I want to conclude with this comment. In Northern Ireland, we have a history and a tradition of small farms. My farm —the farm we have in our family—is only 62 acres. Farms are getting bigger now because they have to do so to move forward, but I think it is really important that this direct payment scheme enables small farms to be viable and makes them sustainable for the years to come. Many, myself included, probably across all of Northern Ireland, were reared on a farm of 60 or 70 acres, with their children going to school, and their whole life was sustained on that. It is really important for the future that Northern Ireland and those small farms can be sustained, be viable and have a future. We wish to have that future within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. We do not want to be any different; we want to be treated the same in Greyabbey, where I live, as in Gloucester or anywhere else.