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Seed Potato Industry

Volume 688: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2021

What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on support for the Scottish seed potato industry. (911211)

Ministers and officials from my Department are in regular contact with counterparts from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The UK has applied for third country equivalency to overcome the ban on the export of seed potatoes to the European Union. We believe we have a strong case as British standards currently match the EU’s, and Scotland in particular has world-leading plant health provenance.

I thank the Secretary of State for that optimism. Even businesses in my constituency of North Norfolk are affected by the ban on exporting seed potatoes into the EU. It is wonderful to have a deal, but in my part of the world agriculture is an enormous way of life, so can he assure me that everything is being done to obtain an agreement on seed potatoes for Scotland and all of the UK, to give food security and flexibility to the sector and to protect our farmers and growers?

I know this is an important issue for my hon. Friend’s constituency, as it is for many farmers in Scotland, and I can confirm that absolutely everything is being done to find a solution.