Thank you for contacting me about the UK’s future agricultural policy.
I would like to start by thanking you for your hard-work and dedication to feeding the people of our great nation. Food and farming is a bedrock of our economy and environment, generating £112 billion a year and helping shape some of our finest habitats and landscapes.
As you already know, the Agriculture Bill will allow the UK to move to a system of paying farmers public money for public goods including environmental protection, access to the countryside, and work to reduce flooding. These are goods and services not provided by the market. Having read the Bill, however, I know that it states:
“In framing any financial assistance scheme, the Secretary of State must have regard to the need to encourage the production of food by producers in England and its production by them in an environmentally sustainable way.”
I hope this clause eases some of your concerns and I can assure you that I will take your comments into consideration at any future opportunity to scrutinise the proposed financial framework.
I am pleased that leaving the EU creates a once in a generation opportunity to design a domestic agricultural policy that will stand the test of time. We can bring in innovative new ideas to support investment in healthy, sustainable British food production and do much better for farming, the environment and animal welfare.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP