Amendment 130

Part of Agriculture Bill - Committee (5th Day) – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 21st July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence) 3:00 pm, 21st July 2020

My Lords, it is always a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, Lord Holmes of Richmond, in particular because I too support Amendment 149. In these proceedings we are encouraged and even exhorted to be brief, and I hope I can meet that expectation, first by adopting all the observations made by the noble Duke, the Duke of Wellington, and my noble friend Lord Greaves.

Some of your Lordships may remember that at an earlier stage in these proceedings I sought to make a case for the recognition of support for small farms in less favoured areas. I do so again today unequivocally because in my judgment, such support is not only desirable but necessary. It is necessary to ensure the survival of viable businesses, it helps avoid the risk of land abandonment, and it ensures that land continues to be put to good agricultural use, in addition to which it combats depopulation. I would describe all these as public goods. However, they are public goods which have benevolent consequences, because support of that kind and the continuation of agricultural activity in such areas helps preserve communities and support social infrastructure, such as schools, post offices and medical services. I hope therefore that when the Minister comes to address us he will provide an explanation as to why these desirable objectives and outcomes do not find favour with the Government.