Bishop of St Albans asks about visas for seasonal agricultural workers to meet harvest need

StAlbansRoMB3On 24th September 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer from the Government to a question on seasonal agricultural workers:

The Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to provide visas for seasonal agricultural workers and to ensure that there will be a sufficient number of such workers to meet harvest need. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about visas for seasonal agricultural workers to meet harvest need”

Bishop of St Albans asks about food security and farm payments after Brexit

On 18th September 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question on food security and farm payments after Brexit.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what steps they are taking to ensure sufficient levels of food security following any change in payments to UK farmers after Brexit. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about food security and farm payments after Brexit”

Bishop of St Albans asks how much food consumed in UK is imported

StAlbans161117On the 23 January 2018 the Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, received a written answer to a question about food security:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans : To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of food consumed in the UK was imported from the EU in (1) 1990, (2) 1995, (3) 2000, (4) 2005, (5) 2010, (6) 2015, and (7) 2017. [HL4655]

Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks how much food consumed in UK is imported”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of St Albans on farming, fishing and the environment

stalbans190117On 26th June 2017, the Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Rev Alan Smith contributed to the Queen’s Speech debate on business, economic affairs, energy, transport, environment and agriculture. He focused on the impact of Brexit on agriculture and fishing, and on the environment, calling for legislation on clean air.

Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I will confine myself to a few comments on agriculture and the environment. In doing so, I need to declare my interest as president of the Rural Coalition.

As regards agriculture and food, Brexit poses one of the greatest challenges to future food production. The UK produces some of the highest-standard food in the world and, indeed, some of the finest food. In our negotiations, it will be crucial that we do not sacrifice food quality, animal welfare or environmental protection as part of those multi-sector trade agreements which will form the foundation of future international economic partnerships. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of St Albans on farming, fishing and the environment”

Bishop of Leeds asks Government about farming and rural policy post-Brexit

On Thursday 23rd March 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Teverson “That this House takes note of the Report from the European Union Committee Brexit: environment and climate change (12th Report, HL Paper 109).” The Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, a number of questions have already been posed, and I pity the Minister for having to go through them in some detail. We heard earlier that we in this Chamber tend to be gloomy, and now we should be cheerful. I am neither; I am just puzzled—which is not a new experience.

From reading the report, which is a model of clarity, as are most of the Brexit reports that come from the various committees, it seems that, as we peel back the layers of the onion, we end up with more layers. I realise that that sounds paradoxical, but it seems to get more and more complex. The other night in the debate on Brexit and Gibraltar I tried to ask some questions about stress testing, to which I got no answer. So I shall try again, focusing very briefly on just one or two questions. Continue reading “Bishop of Leeds asks Government about farming and rural policy post-Brexit”

Bishop of St Albans asks for reassurances on food standards post-Brexit

On Thursday 2nd February Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty’s Government “what measures they will put in place following Brexit to safeguard environmental standards and biodiversity.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow-up question:

stalbans190117-bThe Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, we are all reassured that EU environmental legislation is going to be enshrined within UK law, but we will probably be coming out of the single market and entering into a series of trade negotiations with, for example, the United States. Trade negotiations are just that: we will have to make compromises. Will the Minister assure the House that we will not be producing our food to lower standards or consuming food that has been produced more cheaply by undercutting our industry—for example, chicken washed in chlorine and beef reared on growth hormones? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks for reassurances on food standards post-Brexit”

Bishop of St Albans says uncertainty and insecurity faces British farming as a result of Brexit

St Albans 2On the 21st July 2016 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering held a debate about “the impact on British farmers of the decision to leave the European Union.” Rt Revd Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans asked the Government to help to cultivate a culture of appreciation among the British public towards British farming. Lord Gardiner of Kimble responded for the Government and his comments can be found below.

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, for this debate. I share the delight of other Members of this House that in the recent reshuffle it was neither an exit nor a Brexit but a clear remain vote for the Minister, and not only that but a promotion, so we are delighted and thank him.

Whatever our opinions on Brexit, it is undeniable that British farming faces a period of uncertainty and insecurity. While it is true that the decision to leave the EU will bring some new opportunities for British agriculture in the long term, it is clear that there are substantial challenges ahead. Agriculture is more intimately connected to the European Union than any other UK sector, and the process of unpicking that relationship must be done with utmost care. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans says uncertainty and insecurity faces British farming as a result of Brexit”