Secretary of State’s powers to give financial assistance

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:15 pm on 30th October 2018.

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Photo of Chris Davies Chris Davies Conservative, Brecon and Radnorshire 4:15 pm, 30th October 2018

There are many faults with the common agricultural policy. The hon. Gentleman seems to be well versed in the written word, but we on the Government side of the Committee understand how it is implemented. There are many farmers on these Benches who completely understand how the agricultural world works. There are many issues with the CAP. These amendments do not state that we should have direct payments to farmers. They are probing amendments that clearly state that farmers should be part of the package and part of the discussion as we go forward, and I am happy to support them.

I class the hon. Member for Ceredigion as an hon. Friend, even though he is on the other side of the Committee, and he and I agree on many things. My constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire shares a boundary with Ceredigion, and our farmers cross that boundary regularly. We have similar faiths, meanings and needs—certainly for our agricultural and rural communities.

On schedule 3, we agree on most things, but it is important, if not vital, that the framework enables the devolved nations to work exceptionally closely together. I fear that it will have to be led by one particular region, with everybody coming to a consensus rather than a clear agreement, and I would like to see it led by Westminster. I share a border not only with the hon. Gentleman in Wales, but with England, and it is clear that we need a common framework for cross-border farming, whether it relates to Wales and England, or to England and Scotland, so that everybody works together in the same direction. We have one market and one new agricultural policy, so it is vital that the four devolved nations work together closely and in the same way for the benefit of agriculture throughout the United Kingdom.