Food and Farming: Employment Opportunities — [Mr Charles Walker in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives 2:30 pm, 25th April 2017

My right hon. Friend may be aware that I held a debate here early last year on food security and the need to create confidence in what we produce. The only way to do so is with clear labelling, so that consumers know exactly what they are buying, know that we are looking after animal welfare and the environment, and know that people are being paid properly. I agree completely that leaving the European Union allows us to provide direction and clarity about those things.

The food sector generates £1.8 billion in value to UK plc. Jobs in the sector range from engineers and scientists to farm managers and vets. Given that the industry faces the challenges of an ageing workforce, it is clear that, like any industry, it will need a ready supply of new entrants with new ideas, energy and enthusiasm. As the industry becomes increasingly technologically driven and more reliant on its ability to understand and implement the latest science, businesses across the sector will need the right mix of skills among their employees.