Agriculture: Trade Competitiveness

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps her Department has taken to assist the farming industry to become more competitive.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This Government is supporting the farming industry’s efforts to improve efficiency and competitiveness. Through the Agri-Tech Strategy launched in 2013, we have made a £140 million investment to increase the pace and scale of uptake of agricultural innovation by farmers. We are working with industry to treble the number of apprenticeships in food and farming by 2020, helping young people into an increasingly high-tech, rewarding sector.

Excess regulations and red tape reduce the competitiveness of farmers. We have already cut 4,000 farm inspections this year and aim to remove 20,000 by 2020; by the end of this Parliament, we will have saved farm businesses £470 million worth of unnecessary costs. A total of £138 million is available in England between 2015 and 2020 under the LEADER scheme aimed at supporting farm productivity amongst other priorities.

Leaving the EU provides us with an opportunity to redesign our agricultural policy so that it works for the UK, making farming more profitable, competitive and environmentally sustainable.

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