Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:13 pm on 11th February 2020.

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Judicaelle Hammond:

We would totally agree, as the CLA, that this move is the right move. We have been a proponent of moving towards payment for public good for a while now. The Bill is welcome. We also welcome the inclusion of soil quality, for example, and the consideration of sustainable food production and food security in the Bill. The fact that there is now going to be a multi-annual framework for financial assistance is also important, as is assistance for productivity improvement.

Regarding what we would want to see, there are two main aspects, as well as a number of other improvements, which I might talk about later. One is making sure that the transition is right. At the moment, we are missing information, not just about what is going to happen next year, but about residual payments for individual businesses over the rest of the transition years. We are missing the kinds of details about ELMS that will make it possible for those businesses to make decisions about where they want to take their business, and in particular, of course, about payment rates. In the absence of those details, and given the uncertainty in trading conditions, we would like the start of the transition period to be pushed back by one year without moving the start of ELMS.

The other issue that we have is about trade standards, which the NFU and others have spoken about. We certainly share their concerns.