Clause 4 - Multi-annual financial assistance plans

Part of Agriculture Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:45 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 6:45 pm, 12th October 2020

I thank my hon. Friend for making that point, and I agree with those concerns. British consumers have spent decades arguing for increased animal welfare in our agriculture production, and putting their faith in those brands, supermarkets and products that have higher levels of animal welfare than others. That concern exists.

I want a trade deal with America, but it is really important that we do not pay for that trade deal with the livelihoods of our farmers. That is why the commission needs to be strengthened, providing extra scrutiny of standards, and we will need an amendment that locks those standards into law. I want the commission, as Anthony Mangnall hinted at in his intervention, to be put on a permanent statutory basis and to produce a report on every trade deal so that this House can vote on it. Our farmers feed the nation. The least they should expect is that their elected representatives have the opportunity to vote on whether to accept a trade deal that could devastate the economy. The Minister is right that a Bill is not required to set that up, but that means that the only thing required is a choice—and that is a choice that the Government have chosen not to make.