Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:25 pm on 11th February 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Jim Egan:

I think there is underlying capacity out there. There are enough people to do it. There will be a change of mindset in some sectors, but bear in mind that business is seeing some of the opportunities here as well. Jake is right: it needs to be somebody the farmer trusts—there is a wide range of advisers trusted by farmers—and the advisers need to believe in the scheme. Many advisers have not sold environmental work for the past five years, because they do not believe in the scheme; they do not want to put their name on the line when the payments are late, and when the agreement does not turn up for a year after you have entered into it.

You should not underestimate the impact that that has, because if your adviser walks up the drive and says, “I can’t put my name to that, because I can’t advise you about that future income and part of your business,” it puts people off. We are starting to get a lot of certainty now about stewardship. I know it will change and evolve, but we need that certainty of scheme and of process. The advice is there; people just need to believe in it.