The Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has cautioned that the next stage of the Agriculture Bill must not be rushed in the House of Lords. Having been through its House of Commons stages, Peers are expected to have their first opportunity for a full debate on the Agricultural Bill on June 10.
The TFA commented that whilst there is much to be welcomed in the Bill, there is a lot more that needs to be considered before it can be judged appropriate for our needs at this time.
TFA Chief Executive, George Dunn, said that everyone recognises how vital this piece of legislation will be for the future of agriculture, food security, animal welfare and the farmed environment, and that for the first time in over 40 years the UK will be determining its own policy for these important areas outside of the framework of EU rules.
Mr Dunn said: “This legislation will determine our direction of travel for a generation and we must ensure that it is as good as it can be for the health and well-being of all UK citizens.”
“The Bill has already been used as a guinea pig, for the new measures introduced by the House of Commons authorities, to ensure the safety of Members of Parliament in carrying out their work in the context of Covid-19. This meant a rather rushed and stifled report stage for the Bill which must not be repeated for the House of Lords stages.
“We need further measures in relation to the protection of standards in trade, better provisions on food security, improvements in the arrangements for regulation of food supply chains, assurances around protecting payments to active farmers and land managers and closing loopholes in the much needed protections for farm tenants. The House of Lords is usually a good place for the level of scrutiny required to get into the detail of this Bill, but it must be given the time and space to play that important role.
“The Government is keen to get this legislation on the statute book before the end of the summer as a clear signal of departure from our past involvement with the European Union. However, we must not let political point scoring or misplaced virtue signalling to hijack the work needed to produce good legislation.”