Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:57 pm on 13th February 2020.

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Photo of Kerry McCarthy Kerry McCarthy Labour, Bristol East 3:57 pm, 13th February 2020

Q I am trying to tease this out, because we have heard previous witnesses say that there is concern about the lack of baseline regulation in the Bill and the fact that we no longer have the cross-compliance checks. There are concerns that people will drop below the minimum standards. How does that work? Clearly, you do not want to use public money for public goods just to reward people for keeping to the standards required of them by law, because there is no additionality to that; they ought to be doing it anyway. We could reward farmers for doing the higher welfare stuff, but at the same time, we really ought to have an ambition to say, “If they can do it, why can’t all farmers treat their animals that way?” Will we end up always having to keep raising what counts as higher welfare for farmers to get money? Do you see what I am saying? You could almost end up not raising standards, because the farmers would not get paid for the higher welfare standards.