Debates between Baroness Mallalieu and Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist during the 2019 Parliament

Mon 6th Dec 2021
Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL]
Lords Chamber

Report stage part three & Lords Hansard - part three
Wed 10th Jun 2020
Agriculture Bill
Lords Chamber

2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords & 2nd reading

Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Mallalieu and Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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I am afraid I am not able to give that reassurance. All I can say is that they might not be considered to be experts.

Baroness Mallalieu Portrait Baroness Mallalieu (Lab)
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I thank the Minister for her reply. I just hope that the reassurance she has given us will be followed by future Secretaries of State. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Agriculture Bill

Debate between Baroness Mallalieu and Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
2nd reading & 2nd reading (Hansard) & 2nd reading (Hansard): House of Lords
Wednesday 10th June 2020

(4 years ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Agriculture Act 2020 View all Agriculture Act 2020 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Consideration of Bill Amendments as at 13 May 2020 - large font accessible version - (13 May 2020)
Baroness Mallalieu Portrait Baroness Mallalieu (Lab) [V]
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My Lords, I remind the House of my interest as a small-scale upland sheep farmer and as president of the Countryside Alliance. This is potentially a good Bill that travels in the right direction, and I am grateful to my friend the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner, for introducing it, but it is a very bare framework with far too many delegated powers and far too little real detail. It could and should be improved by some additions.

First, our current food, environmental and animal welfare standards were surely not put in place simply to protect the market for our farmers or because we were required to adopt them while we were in the EU. They are there for the benefit of our consumers and we are keeping them post-Brexit presumably because we think they are good and necessary. The Conservative Party’s manifesto at the last general election stated that there would be no compromise on them in our trade talks, and the letter we all got yesterday from the two Secretaries of State said the same, as did the Minister in opening. To allow products which do not meet our standards—even if, as has been suggested in the press, tariffs might be imposed on them to help our producers compete financially—would betray the promise made to the people of this country that they would have good, safe, ethically produced food to our own high standards. If, as we are being repeatedly told, there will be no compromise, will the Minister tell us why that is not simply being put in the Bill? As the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, and the noble Lord, Lord Cameron of Dillington, said, the amendment in the other place proposed by Mr Neil Parish was supported on all sides of the House and it, or one like it, needs to be put in the Bill.

At long last we have an opportunity to shape our own agricultural destiny, and the choice is stark, facing, as we do, the end of direct payments under the CAP. It is no exaggeration to say that the single farm payment has been the difference between a loss and break-even for many small and medium-sized family farms, particularly in the uplands where there is very little but livestock farming to turn to. That point was made by the noble Earl, Lord Devon, and the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. If you cut direct support to those small farms, as New Zealand did, they go under, and farming becomes the province of large commercial enterprises. Under the Bill, that direct support is reducing and is guaranteed for only a very short time. As others have pointed out, there is then a lacuna in support, and we have no details or figures with which farmers can plan for the future, as plan they must.

The Bill must recognise that the production of food to a high standard, which British farmers primarily do, is the main benefit to us all from our agricultural industry, as well as landscape maintenance and enhancement, wildlife habitat preservation, access to the countryside and so on. We, the public, directly or indirectly, derive benefit from that we should all contribute to its cost. However, productivity and profitability have to go hand in hand with the new environmental land management schemes or they will fail. In my area, Exmoor National Park, I am very encouraged by the trial and test called Exmoor’s Ambition, which is partly funded by Defra. It has been running since 2019 and goes on until next year. It works closely with farmers and land managers to define and develop the public good outcomes which will be required under the ELM scheme, and how farmers will be paid for them. We all want to know the results, and I hope the Minister will be able to tell us how those trials are going and if anything is emerging from them as yet. Those schemes must be devised and designed—

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
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Perhaps the noble Baroness could bring her remarks to a close.

Baroness Mallalieu Portrait Baroness Mallalieu [V]
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I hope they will be devised by farmers, not just by recent environmental studies graduates sitting in an office, which has sometimes been the case with other schemes.