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Regulatory Burden (Farmers)

Volume 584: debated on Thursday 17 July 2014

We are making good progress in reducing regulation. We are putting in place earned recognition, which sees high-quality farmers benefiting from fewer inspections and less red tape, and now 14 out of 31 inspection regimes allow earned recognition. The Food Standards Agency has reduced dairy inspections by more than 8,000 a year and the Environment Agency’s pigs and poultry scheme is saving members £880 a year.

I, too, congratulate my right hon. Friend on her well-deserved promotion. She will be a champion for rural communities in Norfolk, in Cheshire and across the country. It is vital that we go further to reduce the regulatory burden on farmers so that they can go on doing what they do best. With that in mind, will she tell the House what specific progress we are making under the red tape challenge?

I thank my hon. Friend for his congratulations and look forward to working with him on this issue, as I know that he is passionate about getting rid of the red tape that hampers farmers in doing what they do best. We intend to improve or remove 56% of the 516 regulations examined by the agriculture red tape challenge. As Secretary of State I want to continue to work to get rid of red tape and box-ticking, focusing instead on the outcomes we deliver in economic growth and environmental improvements. It is the outcomes that matter, not jumping through hoops.