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”
On 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”
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”
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”
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”
On Wednesday 14th September 2016, Lord Taverne asked the Government “whether, in their negotiations to leave the European Union, they will seek to preserve the United Kingdom’s membership of the single market.” The Lord Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question.
Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, many parts of our country are deeply concerned about the negotiations, not least the farming community, as evidenced by the Back British Farming demonstration going on outside. We produce food of the highest quality, by environmental and welfare concerns, of almost anywhere in the world. For the sake of our health, our livestock and the environment, can the noble Lord assure the House that Her Majesty’s Government will be very careful to ensure we will not be flooded with cheap imports of food produced to much lower standards than that which our excellent farming industry produces? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks if Brexit will lead to cheap and low quality food imports”
“We can create all the life chances we like, but that is futile if families cannot afford to put food on the table” – Bishop of St Albans, 7/7/16
On 7th July 2016 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord De Mauley, “That this House takes note of the current and future roles agriculture and horticulture play in Britain’s rural economy and the role that advances in agricultural science can play in the further development of that sector.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I add my thanks to those from other noble Lords to the noble Lord, Lord De Mauley, for securing this important debate at this time of significant uncertainty for the agricultural and horticultural sectors. I also declare my interest in the register as president of the Rural Coalition.
As noble Lords have already stated, the agricultural and horticultural industry is an essential feature not only of the rural economy but of the wider national economy. It is often said in this Chamber that the defence of the people is the first duty of government, but I wonder whether feeding the people should be an equally primary duty. Establishing food security is an essential role of all Governments, never more so than in the current climate of global uncertainty. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans highlights challenges to the rural economy outside the EU”
On the 19th January 2016 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked Her Majesty’s Government “what percentage of the Basic Payment Scheme was paid to farmers by the end of December 2015, and what assessment they have made of the delivery mechanisms of that funding”. The Bishop of Peterborough, the Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked for assurances that payments would be made promptly and in full.
The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, I speak as one who, until very recently, has been privileged to serve as a trustee of the Farming Community Network, which supports many farmers with difficulties of this sort. Is the Minister aware, as FCN certainly is, that many of those who have been told they will not receive their payments until after the end of this month—more than two months late—are farming in upland areas, not just common grazing, and are often the poorest farmers in the most need? Is it possible for at least some payment to be made on account? Can the Government assure noble Lords that payments will be made on time, and in full, in the next cycle?
Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough questions Government about Basic Farm Payments”
On 14th January 2016 the Bishop of Leeds, Rt Revd Nick Baines, led a short debate in the House of Lords on flood management. The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, also spoke in the debate.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I thank my right reverend colleague for today’s debate. Due to the shortage of time, straightaway I shall focus a little more on whole-catchment flood management. A renewed focus on this approach has been one of the notable outcomes of the current flood crisis, helped of course by the exemplary work of the Pickering slow-the-flow scheme, which the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, described so eloquently.
The potential of whole-catchment approaches—for example, using meandering rivers, planting trees and building permeable dams to slow water in upland areas and reduce peak flow further downstream—is enormous. In the long term, it provides a cheaper, more environmentally friendly method of flood management, which works, as a number of people have already said, with natural processes rather than constantly trying to hold back the tide. Such approaches also have the benefit of being effective across a catchment, rather than simply focusing on one or two high-value areas, and so can help to lower the flood risk in rural hamlets and villages that might otherwise not qualify for flood protection. Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans suggests new approaches to flood management”
On 10th November 2015 Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty’s Government “what percentage of the basic farm payment they expect to pay to qualifying farmers by the end of the year.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a supplementary question.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for referring to the way the Rural Payments Agency has turned things round. Despite its sterling work and the assurances of the Minister, there is no doubt that a number of farmers will experience delays in payments under the basic payment scheme. In light of that, what are Her Majesty’s Government doing to put in place contingency plans to help those farmers who could go out of business simply because of cash-flow problems if payments do not come through on time? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans asks Government about contingency for farmers experiencing cash-flow problems”