Environmental targets and objectives

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 20th November 2018.

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However, we know—it has been on the front page of the papers—that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has some differences with his colleagues in this area. In this case, those differences are not with the Secretary of State for International Trade, but with the Treasury. The Sun said that the Treasury was trying to block green targets from being enshrined in law. Perhaps when he responds the Minister can tell me whether there is any truth in that suggestion.

The Treasury certainly got its way in the Budget, with little more than tokenistic gestures on the environment. The biggest announcement, £10 million for tackling abandoned waste, seemed to be there only so that the Chancellor could set up a joke about the shadow Chancellor, who had fallen over some fly-tipping and bruised his face. In particular, despite great fanfare when the Chancellor referred in the 2017 Budget to the Government’s intention to deal with plastic pollution, and then re-announced it in the spring, that was a damp squib in this year’s Budget. The purpose of the new clause is to protect the Minister and his boss, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, from their colleagues in the Treasury. We are on the Minister’s side: we want to make sure he can deliver a green Brexit, as we believe he wants to do. We want to help him with that.