Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products Framework (Miscellaneous Amendments, etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

– in the House of Lords at 7:26 pm on 26 March 2019.

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Moved by Lord Gardiner of Kimble

That the draft Regulations laid before the House on 13 February be approved.

Relevant documents: 18th and 19th Reports from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee A)

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My Lords, I declare my farming interests as set out in the register.

The matters in these instruments are closely interrelated, and I hope that noble Lords might find it helpful if I speak to them together. These instruments amend retained EU law and domestic legislation on the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products—also known as the Common Market Organisation or CMO —to ensure their smooth transition into a domestic regime. They also amend retained EU law and domestic legislation covering a limited number of miscellaneous rules and functions within the wider common agricultural policy.

The CMO is part of Pillar 1 of the common agricultural policy, alongside direct payments. It comprises a number of schemes and standards designed to support, directly or indirectly, farmers and the prices they receive for their goods.

The technical and operability amendments made in these regulations will maintain the effectiveness and continuity of this legislation, which would otherwise be inoperable following exit. They will ensure that we can continue to operate schemes under these regulations for our vital farming sector and maintain the standards they set, which support confidence in our farmed goods in domestic and international markets.

This legislation makes appropriate corrections to ensure that these standards and processes continue to operate in a UK context. Where changes are required, we have endeavoured to ensure that these will have limited impact on businesses and other stakeholders. We have consulted extensively with the devolved Administrations on these instruments to ensure that the legislation that they amend continues to work, while also respecting the devolution agreements.

For six of the instruments, most of the areas they cover are devolved, with powers transferring to devolved Ministers. In many cases the Secretary of State is able to act on behalf of the devolved Administrations, should they give their consent. However, in some circumstances this does not apply to Wales, due to certain provisions that are specific to the Welsh devolution settlement. The Welsh Government have carefully considered whether the Secretary of State should be able to act on their behalf in respect of each of the functions concerned, and the drafting reflects that. Only one relates exclusively to reserved matters: the draft Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products and Common Agricultural Policy (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.

The majority of the instruments under debate concern the common organisation of agricultural markets. The CMO sits in Pillar 1 of the CAP and was set up as a means of meeting the latter’s objectives, in particular by stabilising markets, ensuring a fair standard of living for agricultural producers and increasing agricultural productivity. It has over time broadened to provide a range of measures that enable the EU to manage market volatility, incentivise collaboration between and the competitiveness of agricultural producers and facilitate trade.

The first statutory instrument in this group, draft Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products Framework (Miscellaneous Amendments, etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, amends retained EU legislation with the purpose of making operable the overarching framework of the CMO, rather than the detailed rules of each of the constituent policies. These amendments are all appropriate to ensure the continued operability of this framework, and include such amendments as those replacing tonnage ceilings for market intervention schemes that apply across the whole EU with a level that is suitable for the UK’s domestic market.

The policy areas covered by this framework can largely be broken down into: the aforementioned market intervention measures, such as public intervention and crisis support; sector-specific aid schemes, such as the fruit and vegetables aid scheme; marketing standards, which maintain consumer confidence in our farmed goods; import and export rules, such as quality controls on imported hops; and competition-related measures, such as the creation of producer organisations. Alongside the framework for the CMO, this statutory instrument makes operable the EU regulation that governs the scheme for the promotion of agricultural products. Together, all these schemes and standards work to support our farming sector and the prices that famers receive for their farmed goods.

The second statutory instrument in this grouping, the draft Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products and Common Agricultural Policy (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, ensures the operability of certain provisions in the CMO and wider CAP relating to reserved matters: in particular, the regulation of anti-competitive practices, of international law, of imports and exports and of intellectual property law. The amendments made in these regulations ensure that the relevant retained EU legislation will continue to operate effectively as domestic law. As an example, one amendment made here replaces an appeals procedure for recognition of wine geographical indicators that was run by the Commission with a domestic procedure via the First-tier Tribunal. This statutory instrument also confers existing legislative functions held by the Commission in these reserved policy areas on to the Secretary of State to enable the smooth functioning of related schemes for producers, traders, importers and exporters of agricultural goods.

The third statutory instrument in this grouping, draft Market Measures (Marketing Standards) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, makes operability changes to a range of EU regulations laying down marketing standards and related rules for seven areas: bananas, beef and veal, carcase classification, fruit and vegetables, hops, milk and milk products and spreadable fats, and pigmeat. The instrument aims to minimise disruption to the flow of goods while preserving standards, and to make marketing standards legislation appropriate to the domestic context of the United Kingdom.

The amendments in this instrument aim to maintain confidence in the quality of the farmed goods in our markets, and ensure that product information remains transparent and accurate. For example, rules allowing labels on mixed fruit and vegetables to specify whether they originate within or outwith the EU will be amended to allow labels to specify instead whether the produce originates from the UK. I emphasise that this includes a transition period of 21 months during which the old labels may be used, so long as they comply with all other relevant legislation, including the requirement not to mislead consumers.

I will draw your Lordships’ attention to one minor point which was raised with me earlier today. As a result of changes made by the European Union to EU regulation 543/2011, relating to marketing standards for fresh fruit and vegetables, a small number of provisions in the draft Market Measures (Marketing Standards) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will require minor amendment. These changes were published in the Official Journal only last week, and are due to come into force before exit day. Our proposal is to make a new statutory instrument to amend the Market Measures (Marketing Standards) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 to reflect the changes we have just heard of, and then make both SIs together. This will ensure that our regulations correctly link to retained EU law as it is on exit day. I want to be absolutely clear, as I heard about it only this afternoon, that this is because of recent changes. I therefore promise that the statute book will have retained EU law as it exists when we leave. I hope that is helpful to your Lordships. We will attend to it.

The fourth statutory instrument in this group, the draft Market Measures Payment Schemes (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, makes appropriate amendments to EU regulations laying down detailed rules for three areas to ensure their continued operability: public intervention and aid for private storage, measures to promote agricultural products and rice processing. The amendments ensure that this legislation can operate effectively. Amendments here include those to remove the role of the Commission in tendering procedures for selling products into intervention storage in the case of, for example, a price collapse in a certain agricultural sector, and ensure that this process continues to work domestically.

The fifth statutory instrument in this grouping, the draft Market Measures (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, makes the appropriate amendments to ensure operability of a range of domestic statutory instruments that provide for enforcement of EU rules on marketing standards—for example, the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009, which, among other things, empower the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate to make checks to ensure that fresh produce is labelled and marketed correctly, protecting consumers and ensuring confidence in the fresh produce on our market. The regulations make the appropriate amendments to ensure this domestic SI remains operable, maintaining continuity in our enforcement operations. The other domestic regulations this SI covers concern: beef and veal labelling in England; carcase classification and price reporting in England; quality of green bananas in England and Wales; olive oil marketing standards in the UK; certification of hops in the UK; milk price reporting in England and Northern Ireland; and the school milk scheme in England and Northern Ireland.

The sixth statutory instrument in this grouping, draft Agriculture (Legislative Functions) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations 2019, amends elements of the EU legislation on the CMO and some of the elements of the EU legislation on organic food and feed that provide for legislative functions. Under the amendments, functions currently exercised by the European Commission will instead be exercisable in the UK. This will enable these legislative functions to continue to be used at a national level. It does this also for a small number of functions in the wider CAP that relate to the CMO. Without these amendments, the legislative functions contained in these retained EU regulations would be inoperable. This would prevent the UK Government and the devolved Administrations from being able to make any necessary changes to the relevant policy regimes to keep them up to date. This instrument uses powers in the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to correct these deficiencies to enable the functions to be exercised by UK public authorities.

The seventh statutory instrument in this group, the draft Livestock (Records, Identification and Movement) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, makes appropriate amendments to retained EU law on the identification and movement of cattle, sheep and goats so that it will continue to function correctly.

We have been pragmatic in how we are amending this retained legislation. For example, we will not be requiring animals imported from the EU to be retagged, as is currently required for third-country imports. This is because the EU ear tags and the information on them will be of the same specifications as UK tags and can be used by our tracing systems. This will avoid creating an unnecessary burden on importers.

The instruments in this grouping make changes to ensure an operable legal framework for the CMO, supporting farmers and delivering continuity. They also ensure that retained EU law will function correctly. As I said, the changes are technical, ensuring operability and addressing any deficiencies. These changes will ensure that we can continue to set and enforce standards for farmed goods covered by the CMO and continue to operate the aid schemes set therein. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Byford Baroness Byford Conservative 7:30, 26 March 2019

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for introducing the seven sets of regulations. At this time of night, having sat here from about 3 pm, other Members will be delighted that I will not repeat everything I have written down, because he clearly introduced the regulations in the correct manner.

I am very grateful to Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Sub-Committee A for its 18th report, which looked at the regulations and which it followed up in its 19th report with some extra questions. My noble friend may want to pick up on some of them when he responds. I should declare the family farming interest, in particular the fact that we receive payments, including for environmental matters.

This is a very important group of statutory instruments which cover matters such as aid for private storage, aid schemes, marketing standards—which are particularly important—labelling, packaging, production methods, conservation and storage and transport certification, to name but a few in the first instrument. The Explanatory Memorandum on the third instrument, on marketing measures, states that our retained EU law is being kept as close as we can to the current system. Paragraph 7.2 refers particularly to public intervention and aid for storage, aid schemes generally, marketing standards, producer organisations, import and export rules—which are extremely important—and crisis measures, which my noble friend did not mention but which he might also want to pick up when he responds.

On the fourth SI, on marketing measures payment schemes, managing market volatility is again particularly important. Perhaps my noble friend can say a little more about that when he responds. The collaboration and competitiveness of agricultural producers is hugely important: bringing producers together so that we can gain competitiveness in the international trade in which we shall be competing. Promotion and high standards are particularly important, as are the production methods to which they refer. Awareness and recognition of EU quality schemes is increasingly important, and the statutory instruments allow us to achieve that. My noble friend did not mention—but there is so much for him to mention in these statutory instruments, it is probably just as well for us tonight that he did not go through the whole lot—the safety proposed to farmers by removing surplus products. Again, perhaps he would pick up on that. I shall not comment on the fifth statutory instrument at all.

The sixth SI concerns the legislative functions in the EU regulations relating to the CMO schemes, CAP financing, organic food and feed, and the management and monitoring that would be inoperable if we did not move these provisions across. I want to raise two issues with my noble friend on that SI. First, there is the establishment of a system of price reporting within the sugar sector. I am intrigued by that. That is presumably within our UK growing of sugar, rather than the international aspect, particularly from the ACP and Latin American countries, which also produce cane sugar. I should say that on our farm we produce sugar. Secondly, it is an instrument to react to market disturbance. My noble friend did not pick up on that, but perhaps he can cover that in his concluding remarks.

Lastly, I turn quickly to the Livestock (Records, Identification and Movement) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations. It is hugely important that we continue to ensure that we have full and correct identification and movement of animals in this country. We have had some terrible times over recent years, and we need to keep well on top of how we deal with livestock records. The 14th report of the committee identified the possibility of fee charging. Perhaps the Minister could reflect on that.

I have touched on only some of the issues raised. There is a whole group of them. We could have had a mini-debate on all of them but, at this time of night, for fear of being wearisome, I hope that I have picked up some of the points that my noble friend was unable to touch on and that he will respond when he winds up.

Photo of Lord Addington Lord Addington Liberal Democrat 7:45, 26 March 2019

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, for briefing us and arranging meetings letting us know the intention behind the regulations. He has a deserved reputation for civility and courtesy in this House, and he has very much earned it in my case, as I am not a great expert in this field.

I gather that this is an attempt to enact a degree of continuity and certainty for the farming industry in the immediate case. If we are going to go through these radical changes, that is to be applauded. However, can the Minister indicate the limitation of the certainty that can be given? For instance, how far in the future are we thinking: is it merely to the end of this Parliament? According to the newspapers, that could be a month away or about three years; we do not know. What are the limitations? What is the ongoing philosophy, because the philosophy is also important? If the Government continue in power, what will they think of doing? That thinking and control will matter. That is the guiding light for what will go on. Some idea of what is happening there would be helpful.

I have a few other questions. The noble Baroness, Lady Byford, touched on a few of the things I was going to say, and one or two of the others seem to disappear into the middle distance given the lateness of the night and the importance of what is going on. If there is to be no great change, that is fine, but if change is unavoidable I encourage him to describe where he thinks there will be the greatest change, because the people involved will need as much warning as possible. If the Government have identified those areas, that would be helpful to know.

The regulations are not welcome but seem unavoidable in the current situation, so I thank the Government for at least getting a hard hat ready for the fall.

Photo of Lord Grantchester Lord Grantchester Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

My Lords, I thank the Minister for his excellent introduction to the batch of regulations before the House and declare my interest, as in the register, as a recipient of EU funds. I also thank the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Addington, for their contributions tonight.

The regulations complete the framework of agricultural mechanisms needed to be transferred to the UK from the EU to maintain certainty and continuity on food. The House dealt with further tidying-up amendments yesterday to update the position from the alterations agreed at the EU level in January. The Minister, his team and his department can be congratulated on their achievements, perhaps with certain exceptions in other areas. Nevertheless, they have brought across many technical and policy areas of EU law into UK law through these instruments to maintain the necessary legal frameworks.

The Minister made other remarks signifying that further technical updates could continue. Can he go further and state whether all future developments in the EU will continue to be implemented in UK law until measures under the Agriculture Bill come into force, which would allow certainty of continuation until the end of this Parliament, and whether those developments will maintain full parity with what is happening in the EU?

As we discussed last week, these regulations need to be introduced to maintain continuity and consistency on the EU’s regime to bring about a smooth transfer to the UK’s new regime, proposed under the forthcoming Agriculture Bill. I am sure that, in response to the noble Lord, Lord Addington, the Minister can confirm that nothing will change from a regulatory standpoint in the entire food chain, from the farmer to the consumer, to the benefit of both and the food supply chain. I am certainly grateful to the Government for that clarity. To credit the Treasury for its guarantee, the food industry has a certain amount of certainty until the end of this Parliament—that is still believed to be in 2022, whether the UK has a transition period or not—when the new provisions under the Agriculture Bill are expected to take effect. Until that landscape, producers and consumers are protected. There are no guarantees after that.

As Parliament nears the end of the process to leave the EU with a fully functioning statute book, what consideration have the Government given to communicating these solutions, especially regarding the farming industry? I understand that the Minister’s department has already gone live with the online system for this year’s BPS, and that the guidance notes are not materially different; that is, they are essentially the same as last year’s. Do the Government have any plans? More pertinently, when does the Minister think his department will issue guidance to provide clarity for the industry?

We have dealt with rural development programmes and the common agricultural policy in recent weeks, but these regulations deal with CMOs, the common organisations for market structures, market measures, legislative functions and livestock regulation, as the Minister explained. Again, the Explanatory Memorandums do not provide enough clarity, or reveal with details enough of the consultations that have occurred throughout industry, including on the devolved Administrations and their separate industry structures. Can he outline the full scope of those consultations by naming the various food sector bodies that have been consulted on these CMO instruments? I recognise that, necessarily, the CMA will be involved as far as competition law is concerned, but how will specific industry issues be dealt with on a sector-by-sector basis?

For example, in yesterday’s debate, PDOs and geographical indictors were discussed in relation to the transfer of functions to the Secretary of State, but no mention was made of the UK policy and decision-making process, nor of what guidance there may be on future recognitions. Can the Minister outline the plans for that once the UK has transferred the various brands across from the EU list, including the ones discussed yesterday dealing with wine and US liquor?

My next general comment concerns the lack of impact assessments across the regulations. As these regulations merely bring existing schemes into being on a UK statutory basis, the Government say that nothing has changed, as the saying goes. I understand that, but there are often sufficient amendments to justify examination and explanation. I ask the Minister to clarify two situations. First, what is the position across the statutory instruments we have been discussing in the past few weeks on the various end-dates of differing programmes, new applications and their funding? I have discussed that with him and his team.

Although these regulations come under Pillar 1, the Minister will nevertheless recall the provisions on the interaction of farmers between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 regarding these schemes. The RDP measures will continue for new applications until the end of the scheme in 2020, in contrast to the annual reopenings of environmental and countryside stewardship schemes, with all their lifespans running for many years into the future. Can he clarify the provisions and assure us that the overall framework will apply uniformly across the various regimes, whereby all new applications will close on the same date in 2020? If there are to be any changes, I contend that they would merit appraisal under the impact assessment, as they would breach the Treasury’s guarantee to continue its funding until the end of this Parliament.

The second area that may merit an impact assessment regards the policy changes to end the multi-programmes that operate across more than one member state, as the UK will no longer be a member state after exit. These multi-programmes are often important in recognising cross-border collaboration and value-adding marketing schemes. Although the schemes may end, will the Treasury continue its funding in all, only certain or no circumstances? What is its position regarding pertinent databanks and information under these programmes? I would be grateful if the Minister could clarify that. Will agreement with the EU be necessary to continue with, or possibly untangle, the provisions satisfactorily? An impact assessment on the effects of this change would have been helpful.

Regarding the complex nature of interactions with the devolved Administrations, can the Minister confirm that how these operate at present will be entirely consistent and continue with these regulations as well? In particular, can he clarify on which areas all four nations need to agree?

Paragraph 4.5 of the Explanatory Memorandum on legislative functions asks about the interaction of these SI arrangements with ongoing trade negotiations, provisions under the Trade Bill and the publication of the temporary tariffs announced recently. It needs to be recognised that these SIs, as was discussed in yesterday’s updates, transfer only EU functions and its latest position to the UK. I recognise that the Minister’s department was not the lead department in settling these possible temporary tariff quotas and levels, which could have a fundamental impact on industry, but I hope that he will be able to discuss the implications in due course. The role of Parliament and full industry consultation is paramount in determining tariff levels. Can he outline how such consultation will be undertaken in future?

Finally, it needs to be recognised that although the EU powers under certain provisions are being transferred into UK law, they are not necessarily being implemented —indeed, they may never be implemented. I refer in this regard to the questions asked by the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, on the powers to charge fees in relation to the livestock regulations. I know that the industry is grateful that fees are not currently enforced. Can the Minister confirm that this position will continue and that the Government will not commence with this provision, so that the status quo will continue?

I am grateful to the Minister and all his staff at the department for the constructive way they have engaged in discussions with all Benches in your Lordships’ House. In the new world of life outside the EU, it must be recognised that all trading blocs give support to their food and agricultural sectors, and that careful consideration therefore needs to be exercised regarding this fundamental and strategically important industry. I am pleased to approve the regulations today.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 8:00, 26 March 2019

My Lords, I am most grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken. Like the noble Lord, Lord Addington, I have the disadvantage of being before my noble friend Lady Byford and the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, who farm in a much more extensive manner than I do. I reiterate my commitment to the farming world as a farmer.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Addington, and the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, for acknowledging government support. I think I have been clear in previous debates—we have had a number of debates on this—about the government commitment to maintain the same level of support until the end of this Parliament, expected in 2022. This is certainly unique. In the European Union, for instance, no other member state’s farming sector has had that level of guarantee. This commitment includes all funding provided for farm support under both pillar 1 and pillar 2 of the current CAP. The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, may recall from the debate that the point about the RDPE funding is that any agreements under pillar 2 that have already started will continue to be funded by the Treasury under that guarantee, even if they go beyond 2020.

The noble Lord, Lord Addington, asked about change. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, because at a time of change there is always much concern. Sometimes it is not quite as bad as we all imagine. I emphasise that there are no immediate changes for farmers and consumers due to the statutory instruments before us. Indeed, these instruments maintain the status quo, with amendments made to ensure that the existing regulatory regime continues to work properly and to provide a consistent regulatory framework.

I raise two areas where changes have been made. In both cases we have worked to ensure that the impact on farmers, businesses and consumers is minimised. The first is in the labelling of farmed goods, where minor changes are necessary to some labels as UK goods will no longer be able to be identified as EU goods. To allow producers and traders time to adapt and to use up their existing labelling stock and reduce waste, we have pragmatically introduced transition periods for these labelling changes until the end of 2020. Another pragmatic point I mentioned earlier was in the tagging of live bovine animals. Here EU legislation requires the retagging of all live bovine animals imported from third countries. We have exempted animals from the EU from this definition so as not to introduce a new requirement of retagging EU animals when we leave. As I said before, this is because the tags are fully compliant with our IT systems, and we thought that that would prevent unnecessary additional costs. These statutory instruments are absolutely designed to ensure continuity and stability for farmers by maintaining the current CMO and livestock frameworks. I think the noble Lord, Lord Addington, meant the complete range of regulations. On livestock movement, again I assure the noble Lord that there will be no changes on the ground. I reiterate that this livestock movements SI does not introduce new rules or new policies. The rules that livestock keepers and businesses must comply with will be unchanged by this SI.

My noble friend Lady Byford asked a number of questions. If I get all the answers, I will of course report on them. If I do not, it would be much better if I wrote in some detail. My noble friend asked about livestock fee charging and what this entails. There is a power in the retained regulation on cattle ID registration, regulation 1760/2000, to charge for controls in this area. It is not Her Majesty’s Government’s policy to charge for these controls and we have no plans to do so.

My noble friend Lady Byford asked about agricultural promotions and the specific questions raised by the SLSC about funding for agricultural promotions laid out in the Common Organisation of the Markets in Agricultural Products Framework (Miscellaneous Amendments, etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The department provided a response and we confirmed to the committee that there is no funding from the Government for the continuation of these multi-programmes after exit until their completion in 2020 and that stakeholders have been informed.

On the question of livestock, the ESIC and SLSC’s sifting committees made similar points suggesting that the changes made by the SI conferred significant new powers on Ministers and provided for charging for cattle ID. As I say, they disagreed with the department’s original Explanatory Memorandum, which described the changes being made by this instrument as minor and technical. They took the view that 20 or so amendments being made by it had the effect of conferring functions on a Minister in their domestic ministerial capacity that EU regulations confer on the UK as a member state. As I said, we have no intention of charging.

My noble friend asked about price reporting. We have made operable the provisions to set up a system for price reporting in the sugar sector. If I have any further information on that, I shall write to my noble friend and provide a copy to all noble Lords who have spoken.

My noble friend asked a question on public intervention and crisis measures. We are retaining these measures, as it is not appropriate to revoke them under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. However, the economic case for market intervention is weak. In a global trading environment it can achieve its aim of increasing prices only in very specific circumstances. Where it does, there is a cost not only to the taxpayer but to consumers. The Government—I think this is the case across parties—have not historically supported the general use of public intervention and private storage aid in the EU, and the medium-term intention would be to phase out this policy.

My noble friend Lady Byford asked about a safety net and what assistance would be available if there were a crisis. We have already carried out significant no-deal preparations and have contingency plans in place to minimise disruption as much as possible. As part of this, we are in close contact with the devolved Administrations, all farming sectors and farming unions, including the livestock sector, and are looking at a range of possible options if we were to leave without a trade deal.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, raised a number of matters on consultation and assessment. As I think the noble Lord is expecting me to say, there are no changes in policy except in the really limited areas I have described, which are all pragmatic. Where there are changes, they are largely minor and reflect the domestic context. I can say that Defra carried out targeted stakeholder engagement on these policy changes and, as I say, consulted extensively with the devolved Administrations. Where there is a possible impact on businesses, such as with labelling changes, a transition period will be implemented.

I want to take noble Lords back and embellish what I said about multi-programmes. The term refers to programmes that involve multiple member states. I think we all have to accept that there is no reasonable way in which we could make these schemes work domestically, given that they engage a number of other member states. I do not think that the UK’s share of the work and funding is variable. For simple programmes that require the participation of only one member state, as I have said, we have given a Treasury guarantee that they will be fulfilled. However, it would not be possible to operate programmes with multiple member states and so we will not be continuing with those.

Photo of Lord Grantchester Lord Grantchester Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

Can the Minister provide clarity on these multi-programmes? There are obviously implications for UK businesses that partake in those, and I understand the Minister’s remarks on that. However, will he clarify that none of these schemes has implications for government commitments and obligations to fulfil EU schemes as part of the £39 billion transfer of funds? Do they all fall outwith those obligations?

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

It is only reasonable that I answer the noble Lord precisely in writing to provide clarity. I would not want to assume the configuration of the £39 billion and whether schemes in this area may be implicated.

On consultation, the approach we have taken to engagement has been proportionate and fair, particularly given that the changes made by the statutory instruments are technical and operable in so many cases. We have worked closely with the farming world.

The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, asked about the legislative functions SI. These provisions allow the Secretary of State to require export licences for the export of farmed goods. They are necessary to allow the UK to manage any new third-country export quotas that the UK may need to manage. Examples of current export quotas that the EU manages, and that the UK will therefore need to manage, include export quotas for cheese to Canada and the United States and for skimmed milk powder to the Dominican Republic. As I am sure the noble Lord knows, the administration of import tariff quotas will be subject to separate regulations made under the Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Act.

As I have said, Defra has consulted extensively with the devolved Administrations on all aspects of the SIs, and consent was sought and given for those that relate to devolved matters. In so far as the regulations make amendments to food law, we consulted in accordance with our legal obligations through representative bodies such as Dairy UK, the NFU and local councils. We received replies from numerous public bodies and organisations in England, and in all four constituent nations, expressing support for our proposed operability changes.

Where industry bodies requested longer transition periods for labelling, we took that into consideration and increased the length of transition to the end of December 2020.

On the livestock SI, my noble friend Lady Byford, and the noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, with his long-term dairy interest, will be pleased to hear that stakeholders—and I have been part of this—have played a leading role in helping Defra develop the principles and approaches that will underpin the delivery of its planned new livestock tracing services over the next few years, through its traceability design user group. Again, this is really important, and there is enormous buy-in from industry.

As to which areas the devolved Administrations will need to agree to, Defra is working with the devolved Administrations to find administrative approaches that work for the whole of the UK and those areas where some form of co-operation is required to ensure adherence to the principles of the Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations. The working level agreement is expected to cover crisis measures, market intervention such as public intervention and aid for public storage, and the exchange of information and data related to our membership of the EU.

My noble friend Lady Byford asked about livestock records. There are no changes to the current requirements for record-keeping.

The noble Lord, Lord Addington, asked about the general philosophy for the whole of the agricultural sector, and I will answer him, declaring my interests. On future support, we have already said that there is enormous merit in farmers playing the essential role that only they can undertake on the 70% of our land-mass that is farmed, which is helping to enhance the environment. Therefore, there is a recognition that public money would be available for all the public benefits that so often are not understood or are already being undertaken by many farmers. There is that prism, which, as a farmer, I feel is complementary, of food production and enhancing the environment. It is a challenge, but it is eminently doable. Innovation and research will be immensely important to that.

In terms of these statutory instruments, my noble friend Lady Byford raised a number of points to which I have not been able to give her the detailed answers that she would like and deserves. But on the basis that I have covered most other points—and I will study Hansard—I beg to move.

Motion agreed.