The Bishop of St Albans received the following written answer on 31st October 2022:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans asked His Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support British farmers (1) with the increasing cost of energy, and (2) to ensure food security.
Lord Benyon (Con): We will continue to support our farmers and growers through these difficult times. Our Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide a welcome price reduction to ensure that all eligible businesses, including farming businesses, are protected from excessively high energy bills over the coming winter period. We will also be supporting businesses to improve their energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030, delivering up to £6 billion in cost savings by 2030.
In addition to this, Defra have taken a number of steps to support British farmers with increasing costs, including bringing forward 50% of the BPS payment and delaying changes to the use of urea fertiliser. We have also established the UK Agricultural Market Monitoring Group which monitors all key agricultural commodities to help inform HM Government policy.
Regarding food security, COVID-19 and its subsequent supply chain impacts demonstrated that the UK has a highly resilient food supply chain. We recognise the importance of food security and have well-established ways of working closely with the industry to monitor risks. The first UK Food Security Report (UKFSR) was published in December 2021 which recognised the contribution made by British farmers to our resilience. The report concluded that the UK produces about 60% of domestic food consumption by economic value and has further production capacity, providing that the right market conditions are available. The UK’s import sources are also diverse, with no one country providing more than 11% of our imports in 2020. The report and its conclusions serve as a strong evidence base for future policies pertaining to the UK’s food security.