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Agriculture Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:02 pm on 3rd February 2020.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:02 pm, 3rd February 2020

My hon. Friend will appreciate that agriculture is a devolved matter, but the Government’s manifesto does commit us to maintain the same overall levels of support for our farmers in each year of the current Parliament. We do clearly recognise the importance of ensuring and securing prosperity in the farming community in Northern Ireland, and we will work closely with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs on these matters in the weeks and months ahead.

We are going to put the broken system of the CAP firmly behind us. We are replacing it with an approach based on the principle of public money for public goods. We have committed in our manifesto to support that new approach with an overall level of funding to match 2019 levels for every year of the current Parliament. The Chancellor has already announced that the Government will provide £2.852 billion of direct payment support for the 2020 scheme year.

The objective of the Bill is a productive, profitable, resilient farming sector, empowered to produce more of the high-quality food that is prized around the world and appreciated so much here at home, all the while meeting the highest standards of food safety and traceability, animal health and welfare, and stewardship of the natural environment. Now more than ever before we need to recognise the vital importance of the work that farmers do because our climate is changing, because our ecosystems are under increasing pressure and because by the end of this decade 9 billion of us will share this planet.