Secretary of State’s powers to give financial assistance

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:45 pm on 30th October 2018.

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The issues of animal welfare standards and environmental standards came up at last week’s evidence sessions. It is clear that there is significant concern at the possibility of pressure being put on future Governments, resulting in the relaxation of these standards perhaps to sweeten trade deals. I have picked out a couple of people who gave evidence, and the first is Minette Batters. If anyone knows what they are talking about it is her—I would not want to argue with her anyway. [Interruption.] There is consensus there at least. She talked about trade in beef from South America. Bear with me while I quote her, because I think she puts this very well:

“There are shipments of South American beef, as an example, which arrive in Rotterdam, which then get checked and are turned around because they deem it not fit for market access. We need to be asking the question: who is going to do those checks when that shipment turns up here? There is every chance it will come from Rotterdam to the UK before it heads back to South America.”

She is talking about future trade and the way that we may relax our standards to achieve that trade. If anyone thinks there will not be pressure on future Governments to do that, they are significantly mistaken.