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Scottish Agricultural Sector

Volume 678: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2020

The Government have provided unprecedented levels of support to the sector, and, to the credit of all involved, the UK’s food supply chain has remained secure throughout this crisis. Farmers across the UK produce some of the best food in the world, and to the highest environmental, welfare and safety standards. Our farmers have what it takes to compete with the rest of the world, and they can be confident that this UK Government will back them all the way in securing new global markets while protecting those standards.

I thank the Minister for his answer. What assessment has my hon. Friend made of the opportunities that might arise for the agricultural sector in Scotland and the wider United Kingdom—including my local farmers here in Truro and Falmouth—once the EU transition period ends?

There are great opportunities for farmers right across the UK, in Scotland and in my hon. Friend’s constituency in Cornwall. Outside the common agricultural policy, we can provide our food and farming sectors with the opportunity to become more competitive, productive and profitable, while—importantly—taking into account each nation’s unique geography and heritage. We can create our own system of farming support, with each part of the UK being able to meet the specific needs of its farmers.

I welcome my hon. Friend to the Dispatch Box. I represent a constituency which is 75% agricultural land here in north Wales, so he can understand how important our farmers are across the United Kingdom. Recently I met a load of local farmers who are concerned about support for the industry, so may I ask him what steps he and his team are taking to support the agricultural industry once we leave the economic institutions of the EU?

I thank my hon. Friend for his welcome to the Dispatch Box. This Government have guaranteed the current annual budget for every year of this Parliament, giving significant certainty on funding in the coming years not just for Scottish farmers, but for Welsh farmers and around the UK. As I said in an earlier response, we can agree ambitious new trade deals around the world while protecting our own world-class standards.