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Withdrawal from EU Single Market: Food Production

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

3. What recent assessment she has made of the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU single market on trends in the level of food production. (903651)

The Government have delivered the first free trade agreement the EU has ever reached based on zero tariffs and zero quotas, and our recent food strategy sets out how we will support a prosperous agrifood sector.

National Farmers Union of Scotland president Martin Kennedy recently highlighted the unprecedented period of change, cost and uncertainty for Scotland’s farmers and crofters driven by Brexit and now compounded by energy costs and fertiliser costs. Last year, I met farmers from across my constituency. They were frustrated by a lack of clarity on a replacement for the common agricultural policy, and our beef herds are now decreasing in numbers. This Government were elected on a pledge of matching EU funding pound for pound, but that has not materialised. Where is the money and when is it coming?

That simply is not true; £2.4 billion is the budget we have committed to in the manifesto, and we are making sure, through this Parliament, that that money continues to go to farmers. Lots of the issues the hon. Gentleman raises are devolved; his own Government are not delivering for the farmers in Scotland. In England, we are rolling out those plans—grants for farmers to invest in their businesses, and help to assist with their environmental schemes and to make sure that they are prosperous. I only hope that he can influence the Scottish Government to give the same level of support to his farmers.