In my speech to Parliament on the Second Reading of the Agriculture Bill I will ask the Secretary of State to improve his Bill. It should have at its centre the provision of laws and government policies that support growing food at home, and promote more UK output. Mr Gove presents himself as a champion of the environment. What better cause than to grow more food at home, slashing food miles and taking care of our countryside for a useful purpose at the same time. It will bring big carbon savings on transport, refrigeration and storage.
During our time under the control of the EU Common Agricultural Policy we have watched as we have become more and more dependent on food we could produce for ourselves coming in as imports from the rest of the EU. Meanwhile food we cannot grow for ourselves faces substantial tariffs from non EU sources, with no benefit to us.
So my questions are
Will he put food production at the centre of his Bill? Why is he relaxed that the Great English breakfast often has Danish bacon, continental pork sausage and Dutch tomatoes? Why does traditional English roast beef often use imported beef with Spanish and Dutch vegetables? Can’t we do these things for ourselves again?
Will he with the Trade Secretary publish now the schedule of tariffs the UK will impose on the rest of the world including the EU on 30 March 2019 if we leave then, or at the end of the Transition period if we reach an Agreement? Will he cut the tariffs on non EU products we cannot grow for ourselves? Will he set a sensible tariff on worldwide temperate produce, which can be lower than current EU tariffs as we will be levying on rest of EU produce as well?
Will he examine how the current EU subsidy levels could be better spent to reward those farmers who boost output and productivity as well as dealing with environmental concerns?