To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on food prices of Environment Agency proposals to increase permit variation fees for pig and poultry farmers; and if he will make a statement.
The Environment Agency’s analysis suggests that there should be no significant overall impact on the agriculture sector from the proposed new charges. The main drivers of food prices are commodity prices, exchange rates and oil prices, and there is no evidence to suggest that the Environment Agency’s charging proposals will affect these. The proposed charge increases amount to less than 0.1% of the agriculture sector’s economic output.
The Environment Agency has consulted widely on the proposals, and will continue to work with the agricultural sector to manage the impact of any changes.