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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:25 pm on 25th April 2017.

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Photo of Derek Thomas Derek Thomas Conservative, St Ives 3:25 pm, 25th April 2017

I thank the Minister for encouraging me when I first arrived in this place to speak in plenty of Westminster Hall debates. I have done that, and he has had to respond to most of them.

The Minister said that opportunity exists in food and farming, and that jobs are increasing in the high-tech area. I agree that there is real potential to create many new well paid jobs. That is exactly what rural areas need to hear and to see realised.

The new T-levels are welcome. They are an important step in addressing the skills gap. I urge the Minister to encourage DEFRA and other Departments, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to work with the Department for Education to assess how effective and clear the pathway for children into food, fishing and farming really is, so that schools can be encouraged to focus on other things besides the journey towards a university degree or something similar.

Finally, as we introduce measures such as “Making tax digital”, will the Minister contribute to the debate on how people in fishing, farming and food production, particularly those with small businesses, can embrace the opportunity of tax digitalisation, and how we can ensure we have the broadband and mobile phone capacity to deliver that?

I am grateful for the opportunity to have this important debate, and I thank all those who took part.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered employment opportunities in food and farming.

Sitting suspended.