Food Security

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:14 pm on 31st March 2022.

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Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 4:14 pm, 31st March 2022

My hon. Friend has discussed that many times with me and the Secretary of State. On food waste, in which WRAP and FareShare have played such a big part, I would like to recommit the spending that DEFRA has given in the past. We have spent about £3 million on that work and it is really important.

I think we all agree that food poverty needs to be addressed. Where we differ is how we support farmers to do that. The Government are committed to phasing out area-based payments, whereby 50% of the payment has gone to 10% of farmers in the past, and the bottom 20% of claimants get 2% of the total budget.

I listened to what Kerry McCarthy said about pulse farmers. I agree that pulses, pigs, horticulture and poultry have all done badly out of subsidy regimes in the past, and we are keen to put that right. It has never been more critical that we stick with the agricultural transition, because we need to incentivise efficient and productive farming. The new schemes are all about that as well as embedding nature and climate change in the way we incentivise farmers. Food is at the very heart of what we do, and food security is of course a critical national priority. I thank all those who have taken part in this important debate.