News
5th May

2020

TFA Media Release – MR20/22 – The Agriculture Bill Must Be Amended When It Returns to Parliament

The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has written to DEFRA minister, Victoria Prentis MP, to make a plea for the Government to consider important amendments to the Agriculture Bill in light of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the food supply chain.

TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn said, “Our domestic food system has been tested in ways that we haven’t seen since the second world war.  It has exposed stresses, strains and failings in the system which need to be considered carefully.  Consumers who have been experiencing empty shelves and panic buying will be more acutely aware of issues around food security than perhaps they have been for many years.  It is likely global trade flows will be affected for some time to come as a result of the pandemic.  Therefore, we ought to be considering how we should be proceeding with future policy to ensure our long-term food and environmental security”.

With the expectation that the Government will soon schedule Report Stage for the Bill, officials have indicated that there will be a high bar on accepting amendments.

“If it is true that the Government plans to press ahead with the Bill without amendment, this is both disappointing and inappropriate.  Now is the time to carefully consider how the Bill should be amended, seeking cross-party consensus, with a view to tabling Government amendments,” said Mr Dunn.

“Those aspects of the Bill, around food security, the importance of food production, targeting active farmers and the operation of supply chains, should be strengthened to be equal with environmental priorities.  This will give us a firm basis for a resilient food, farming and farmed environment policy for the future,” said Mr Dunn.

The TFA has suggested to the Minister that MPs, including Sir Edward Leigh, Simon Hoare and Neil Parish, have tabled helpful amendments in these areas that the Government could usefully consider before deciding how to proceed.

“In developing new food policy frameworks for the post Brexit transition era, it is vital that we do so well rather than just quickly.  Covid-19 has added to the reasons why it is important to ensure that the right frameworks are put in place,” said Mr Dunn.

-Ends-

Ref:  MR 20/22

Date: 05 May 2020

Notes for Editors:

For media enquiries, contact Julia Meadows, TFA Communications and Events Co-ordinator, on 0118 930 6130 or 07887 777157.

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