South-west Agriculture and Fishing

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:03 pm on 19th October 2016.

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Photo of James Heappey James Heappey Conservative, Wells 5:03 pm, 19th October 2016

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mrs Moon. I congratulate my hon. Friend Scott Mann, who is a fellow south-west MP, on securing this important debate. This is the second debate in just over a week to which south-west Members have turned up en masse—to stand up first for tourism and now for agriculture.

I cannot claim to have any significant commercial fishing in my patch, but I have a lot of farming and I know how concerning the impact of Brexit is to farmers. There has been a lot of uncertainty in the last few years, with low prices, the poorly administered basic payment scheme and the prospect of a significant change to the agricultural subsidy regime once we have left the EU and therefore the common agricultural policy. I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement that the current agricultural funding under pillar one of the CAP will be maintained until 2020, but despite that commitment the UK Government will spend less on agricultural subsidy because we currently get such a bad deal from the CAP. That must be music to the Treasury’s ears. The end of the decade is not that far away, so the Government need to start articulating the long-term vision for farming in the UK now.