Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:12 pm on 25th October 2018.

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Helen Browning:

I would like to think so because that is the other bit of the jigsaw. We are looking here at the production end and particularly at the support elements for farmers. We are not looking at the trade environment, which is going to impact hugely on this, and we are not looking at what is going to happen at the market end or at what will happen through the rest of the supply chain.

In an ideal world, we will be looking at all these bits of the jigsaw together and seeing how they fit together. It is very hard to get this bit of it right with only that base camp in terms of how we will affect farmers’ support into the future. We have no idea of the levels of support that there will be, and that is obviously a factor. The need for it will be influenced by what happens to the trade environment and the market more widely.

It is kind of tricky to do this. What I would ask, given that we do not have that clarity, is that we give broad powers and start to think about the targets. Introducing targets into the Bill would actually give us some destination point and allow the powers to be used in the right way, depending on what else comes through over the next year or so.