Amendment 1

Part of Agriculture Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 2:01 pm on 1st October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2:01 pm, 1st October 2020

My Lords, I shall speak to a small number of technical amendments, and I declare my farming interests as set out in the register.

These are technical operability amendments and do not represent any change of policy. The Government are acting on very recent legal advice from the European Law Group and the Office of Parliamentary Counsel, the Government’s primary legislation drafters, on the interpretation of the withdrawal agreement as regards retained EU law, with the objective of ensuring that no doubt remains that these powers to continue EU CAP legacy schemes will operate as intended for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Amendments 1 and 4 relate to the new clause created by Amendment 45, as agreed on Report, “Continuing EU programmes: power to provide financial assistance”, and will ensure that the Scottish Government are able to make domestic payments where agreements and programmes are currently supported under an EU programme relating to rural development or fruit and vegetable producers once the funding for the programme has been used up. This amendment has been tabled at the request of the Scottish Government, whose primary legislation has progressed quickly through their Parliament and who do not have, as a result, an immediate opportunity to correct this themselves.

Amendments 2 and 3 have the effect of adding the promotions aid legislation—EU regulation 1144/2014, delegated regulation 2015/1829 and implementing regulation 2015/1831—to the list of legislation which will become retained EU law under the new clause created by Amendment 46 “Retained direct EU legislation”, as agreed on Report. This ensures that EU legislation relating to promotion measures for agricultural products which has a direct impact under the withdrawal agreement in relation to existing programmes will also be included in retained direct EU legislation. We have made these amendments at the request of DAERA, which wants to retain the ability to carry out agri-promotion legacy schemes in Northern Ireland under this legislation after the end of the transition period.

Government Amendments 107 and 110 at Report gave Welsh Ministers and DAERA the power to modify retained EU law for CMO apiculture legacy schemes. Amendments 5 and 6 correct a drafting oversight by specifying the resolution procedure for government Amendments 107 and 110 as agreed at Report, for the Welsh Government and DAERA to make regulations in their respective parliaments.

In line with the Sewel convention, the UK Government have sought the legislative consent of all the devolved legislatures for the provisions that engage the LCM process. I am pleased to report that each of the devolved legislatures has agreed legislative consent for the Agriculture Bill on the recommendation of its respective devolved Administration. The Northern Ireland Assembly agreed to the LCM on 31March 2020; the Senedd Cymru on 29 September and the Scottish Parliament on 30 September.

I would like to make clear again that these are purely technical amendments and were tabled at the request of the devolved Administrations to ensure that the legislation operates as intended. These amendments are consequential upon those tabled at Report to reflect the new European Law Group advice. The Government have not changed their policy. I hope that noble Lords will understand my wish, on behalf of the devolved Administrations, to ensure that these matters are firmly settled before the Bill leaves your Lordships’ House. I beg to move.