Amendment 61

Part of Agriculture Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 6:45 pm on 17th September 2020.

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Photo of Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Conservative 6:45 pm, 17th September 2020

My Lords, I rise in the absence of, and at his request and with his permission, the noble Lord, Lord Empey, who has been unavoidably called away and sends his apologies. His two amendments refer to Clause 27. They are minor amendments but would have significant consequences.

The clause relates to fair dealing obligations of business purchasers of agricultural products and enables the Secretary of State to make regulations in respect of them. The regulations may be sector specific or in general terms. As we learn from the Bill’s Explanatory Notes, the Bill provides the Secretary of State with the power

“to make regulations to introduce obligations that promote fair contractual relationships between primary producers, producer organisations, associations of producer organisations, produce aggregators and the business purchasers of their products.”

Obviously, there is a great desire for fairness and for protection from unfair trading practices.

At the kernel of the two amendments from the noble Lord, Lord Empey, is a wish to ensure a better relationship between the processors, the supermarkets and primary producers. I am sure that this is a concept with which all noble Lords agree. Rather than press his amendments at this stage, he seeks to ensure that we enable primary producers to make the investments they wish to make to meet the new responsibilities they face as set out in Clause 27.

The noble Lord, Lord Empey, went to great pains to state, and I am sure that he has reassured my noble friend the Minister of it, that rather than press the amendments to a vote at this stage, he is grateful for the opportunity to set out the views expressed in them and seeks an early meeting with the Minister if it would be possible. I beg to move.