6. What steps he is taking to maintain the economic viability of farming after the UK has left the EU.
The common agricultural policy has been a bureaucratic quagmire that has undermined British agriculture and failed our environment. Leaving the EU allows us to bring clarity and purpose to agriculture policy in the UK for the first time for 45 years. We are committed to introducing an agriculture Bill in this Session and will outline further plans next year.
I am grateful to the Minister for his remarks. Many farmers in my constituency in the bounteous county of Essex supported Brexit, but some did not. What reassurances can he give them that the Government are straining their many sinews to ensure that new and emerging food markets are open to them after Brexit?
We will be working with colleagues in the Department for International Trade to open up new markets. There are opportunities, particularly in sectors such as dairy. We have also been very clear that we will maintain the agriculture budget for this Parliament—that is a manifesto commitment—and that we will have a smooth transition from the policy we have now to the new policy.
Has the Minister seen Wednesday’s press release from the Farmers Union of Wales, which said:
“Denying Wales access to the Single Market and Customs Union would have catastrophic consequences”
on farming in Wales? Would he care to comment?
I very regularly meet members of the FUW, and we absolutely recognise the importance of tariff-free trade with the EU. That is why this Government’s clear position is that we want a comprehensive and ambitious free trade agreement.
House of Commons Hansard
07 December 2017