Rishi Sunak has today set out his plan to support farmers, farming and food security.
A Rishi Sunak-led Government will:
- Maintain and boost domestic food production through a new UK food security target.
- Introduce new “Buy Local” target for the public sector to help British livestock and arable farmers and improve sustainability.
- Support farmers in all future UK trade deals, taking time to get the trade deals right, rather than rushing them through to meet artificial self-imposed deadlines.
- Protect the best agricultural land from housing, “rewilding” or large-scale solar farms.
Farmers are the stewards of our natural environment, and they deliver huge environmental benefits. As a rural MP, and having sat on the EFRA Select Committee, Rishi knows that farming and our environment go hand in hand. They are not mutually exclusive and we must support both, as well as our wider rural communities and rural economy to ensure that they thrive.
Rishi Sunak MP said:
“As an MP for a rural constituency, I understand how important it is to take care of our natural environment and those it supports. I will always back our farmers.”
“The Common Agricultural Policy did nothing to deliver for farmers, farming and the environment. It was indefensible that 50% of the budget went to just 10% of the largest landowners.
“That is why I will drive forward the most significant reforms to farming in half a century. Not only that, recent events have demonstrated the importance of domestic food production and the national resilience that it gives us. I will put a renewed focus on it - and ensure that we are supporting our farmers to boost production.
“The opportunities are endless for UK agriculture, and I will support farmers to invest in, and modernise, their businesses. I will also make sure that farmers are a priority in trade deals, so that they can make the most of the opportunities that exist.”
A Rishi Sunak-led Government will:
Commit to boost UK food production every year.
- Establish a new food security target, including a statutory duty to monitor and report on domestic food production levels annually.
- Build on existing support mechanisms to help farmers, including tenant farmers, adopt new technology, including automation, to improve the productivity and competitiveness of British farmers.
- Keep labour requirements in the sector under review, and move ahead with automation in the sector to ease pressures on labour supply.
- Conduct a full review of all DEFRA quangos and Arms-Length Bodies (ALBs) to ensure that they are delivering on the Government and the public’s priorities. Many of these quangos and ALBs were set up to navigate European law; they must now be slimmed down and restructured to address our priorities.
- Because farming is such a high priority for Rishi Sunak, he would personally chair a new, annual, UK-wide food security summit held at 10 Downing Street. This would build on the success of the new UK Agriculture Partnership (UKAP), promoting farming in all four nations of the UK.
- Reintroduce the role of the UK Rural Advocate, reporting directly to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State, to champion the challenges faced and opportunities available to rural communities across the whole of the UK.
- Ensure fair representation of farmers at all levels of the Government, including in DEFRA, Arms-Length Bodies, and the House of Lords. Rishi will work with CCHQ to ensure that farmers are getting a fair shot of becoming Councillors, MSPs, AMs and MPs.
Introduce a new “Buy Local” campaign to help British farmers and improve sustainability.
- Introduce a new target for public sector organisations to buy 50% of their food locally, to back British farmers and improve sustainability.
- Aggressively champion UK food and drink, including the environmental and health benefits of UK-produced meat, through a new advertising campaign and by working with British supermarkets.
- Conduct a thorough review of agricultural supply chains to ensure fairness for farmers, using powers in the Agriculture Act 2020, as the Government has already done for the dairy sector and is currently doing for the pig sector.
Support UK farmers in trade deals by fighting for our farmers and taking time to get the trade deals right, rather than rushing them through to meet artificial self-imposed deadlines.
- We know that farmers are concerned by some of the trade deals we have struck, including with Australia. A Rishi Sunak-led Government will make farmers a priority in all future trade deals.
- We won’t rush through trade deals at the expense of farmers. They will take as long as they take and we won’t water down our standards.
- We will also build on existing support mechanisms to help farmers export to the world’s emerging markets.
- We will maintain the highest standards of animal welfare, environmental protection and food safety.
Strengthen protections that stop high-quality farmland being used for housing, “rewilding”, or large-scale solar farms.
- The UK’s high-quality farmland is one of our greatest national assets.
- Rishi will ensure that this high-quality farmland is kept in production, and not used for housing, “rewilding” and large-scale solar farms.
- On housing, he will review planning rules to ensure that high-quality farmland is sufficiently protected.
- On “rewilding”, he will ensure that “rewilding” only occurs where it would have no or minimal impact on food production.
- On solar, he will review the draft National Policy Statement on Renewable Energy to ensure that high-quality agricultural land is protected.
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