Bishop of St Albans asks Government about food security and self-sufficiency

On 27th January the Bishop of St Albans , Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a question he had tabled to Government on food production and self-sufficiency. The exchanges are below, including from Peers asking their own follow-up questions:

 

Agriculture Bill: Food Production

The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether food production is included in the definition of “public good” contained in the Agriculture Bill.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con): My Lords, I declare my farming interests, as set out in the register. The Agriculture Bill includes powers to give financial assistance to farmers based on public money for public goods. These are goods and services not provided by the market. Clause 1(4) 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.”

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. A prime duty of government is to ensure that there is enough food to feed the population. Yet one has only to think about the impact of things such as coronavirus, and the immediate ban on the movement of live animals, to show how vulnerable we are, not least when this country is only 60% self-sufficient in food. Will the Minister assure the House that the Agriculture Bill will maximise the level of food production and food security for the country’s future? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about food security and self-sufficiency”

Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for beef farming sector after Brexit

On 12th February 2019 Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb asked the Government “what plans they have to achieve net zero carbon emissions in farming.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, one point that the NFU made is that our wonderful British beef farmers are already two and a half times more efficient than the world average and four times more efficient compared with the beef from South America, so surely one of the most important things that Her Majesty’s Government could do is to put their weight behind British beef farming. What plans do they have for that sector post Brexit? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about plans for beef farming sector after Brexit”

Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about impact of Brexit on food security

On 23rd October 2018 the Bishop of Salisbury, Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, asked a question on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans, on Brexit and food security. A transcript of the follow-up question and those of other Members is below:

Brexit: Food Security

Tabled by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of food security following Brexit.

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: I beg leave to ask the Question in the name of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, who has been detained on other business.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Gardiner of Kimble) (Con): My Lords, Defra regularly assesses the security of food supply and has well-established relationships with industry on supply chain resilience. The UK has a high degree of food security, as shown by the UK Food Security Assessment. This is built on access to diverse sources of supply, including our domestic ​production. I declare my farming interests as set out in the register. Consumers will continue to have a wide choice of food after we leave the EU.

 

Continue reading “Bishop of Salisbury asks Government about impact of Brexit on food security”

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 about welfare standards for transported animals after Brexit

On 24th October 2017 Lord Allen of Kensington asked Her Majesty’s Government “what plans they have to increase the current penalties, including custodial sentences, for animal welfare offences in England to bring them into line with the European average.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, in the light of the Brexit debates on agriculture and other matters, can the Minister assure us that Her Majesty’s Government will ensure that in future, after Brexit, the regulations requiring very high standards of care for animals that are being bred and transported in this country, will continue to be applied to animals that are brought in from other countries with lower standards? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks about welfare standards for transported animals after Brexit”

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”