Thank you for contacting me about support for farmers.
First and foremost, I would like to assure you that I will always back British farmers. Food and farming is a bedrock of our economy and environment, in the UK generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes. I am pleased that the Government has guaranteed the current annual budget in every year of the new Parliament, giving significant certainty on funding for the coming years. Nearly £3 billion of funding will top up the remaining EU funding to match the total funding for direct payments that was available for 2019.
I agree that many farmers are currently doing amazing things to benefit wildlife and counter the effects of climate change. I am pleased that now we have left the European Union, this country has the chance to tailor its agriculture policy to encourage this further. We will move away from the EU’s bureaucratic Common Agricultural Policy and towards a fairer system where hard-working farmers are paid public money for the public goods they deliver. I understand that payments will be made for activities such as conserving plants grown or used in agricultural, horticultural or forestry activity. Land management actions which improve the quality of soil are also being considered.
Finally, I welcome the Government’s very clear commitment that any future trade agreements must uphold the UK’s high levels of food safety, animal welfare standards, and environmental protection. The EU Withdrawal Act transferred all existing EU food safety provisions onto the UK statute book, and Ministers have made clear these standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal now that the UK has left the EU.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.