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Agriculture: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 24th June 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing further ongoing long-term support for agriculture on a similar basis to the scheme for the dairy industry announced on 6 May 2020.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government wants a profitable and resilient farming sector. We will always champion our farmers and growers by supporting them to produce more of our great British food and drink, providing a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public. The Agriculture Bill provides the legislative basis for a transition from old-style subsidies to investment in a more productive and sustainable farming sector.

The Bill will allow us to introduce ambitious new land management schemes in England, based on the principle of “public money for public goods”, so that we can reward farmers and land managers who protect our environment, improve animal welfare and produce high quality food in a more sustainable way. It will also help farmers to stay competitive, with measures to increase productivity and invest in new technology.

The dairy response fund is a temporary measure introduced to deal with COVID-19 and is not meant as a long-term solution. We have also announced other measures to support the farming sector during COVID-19, including relaxation of driver’s hours, competition easements in the sector and promotion campaigns for beef and dairy.

We remain in regular contact and continue to work with our food and farming sector to ensure that they have the support they need. This includes working closely with farmers and processor representatives to understand specific challenges sectors are facing.

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