Secretary of State’s powers to give financial assistance

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:15 pm on 30th October 2018.

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Photo of Phil Wilson Phil Wilson Labour, Sedgefield 2:15 pm, 30th October 2018

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 75, in clause 1, page 2, line 3, at end insert—

‘(1A) No financial assistance may be given by the Secretary of State in relation to the purpose under subsection (1)(e) unless the practice for which financial assistance is to be given complies with—

(a) any part of retained EU law (within the meaning of section 6 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) relating to the protection of the environment which has not ceased to have effect as a result of any agreement between the UK and the European Union setting the terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and

(b) any standards which were enforceable by an EU entity or a public authority anywhere in the UK before exit day, including principles contained in Article 191 of TFEU, and which will be enforceable by an entity or public authority in England after exit day.

(c) the principles contained in Article 191 of TFEU, for the purposes of this subsection, are—

(i) the precautionary principle as it relates to the environment,

(ii) the principle that preventive action should be taken to avert environmental damage,

(iii) the principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source, and

(iv) the principle that the polluter should pay.”

This amendment would ensure that any financial assistance provided in relation to ‘environmental hazards’ would ensure that environmental principles continue to apply in the UK after exit day.

Amendment 71, in clause 1, page 2, line 18, at end insert—

‘(5) Financial assistance under subsection (1) for protecting or improving the welfare of livestock shall only be given to farmers who have—

(a) demonstrated that their livestock welfare practice meets or exceeds the higher animal welfare standard specified by the Secretary of State for the welfare of livestock, or

(b) given, to the satisfaction of the Secretary of State, an undertaking to achieve the higher animal welfare standard specified by the Secretary of State for the welfare of livestock.

(6) Any standard specified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of subsection (5) must set standards that are higher than those required by legislation governing the welfare of livestock.”

This amendment would ensure that public money is only be used to support genuinely high standards of animal welfare. The Government has confirmed it will define a ‘higher animal welfare standard’ by 2020.