Time for Defra to use our freedoms from the EU

The Defra website is more of a history lesson than a celebration of new opportunities and freedoms for farmers. Instead of brimming over with the changes they want to make to our fishing and farming policies now we can control them, it faithfully records the EU laws, rules and old schemes that dominated us for so long. It tells us there is a Countryside Productivity scheme offering only small grants funded by the EU, but goes on to say it is closed. It tells us there were forestry,Water, waste and food productivity schemes but these are also all closed.
It is true it does also now set out more recent U.K. schemes of support but most of these are for environmental improvements. Some of its latest initiatives in wilding and nature look like UK versions of work being done in the EU. Some are worthwhile but the overall impression given is the Department wants less land available for food production and has not yet got round to offering positive support for better farming to boost our output.

You could of course say why not leave it all to the market? There are two reasons. The first is other countries do not , so the UK has to compete under the EU free trade arrangements with farms on the continent that do get subsidies and other support. The second is if the Department itself is offering cash incentives not to farm on potential farmland it may need to level the playing field by offering suitable help for good farming on that land. It is all very well to say wilding cuts the carbon output on the land wilded, but if we then have to transport food into the UK from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, grown and produced in carbon generating ways, we have done nothing to save the planet and much to damage the UK economy.

The government has promised new schemes to stimulate innovation, investment and promotion of more U.K. food. I wish it would get on with them. We need to promote our farms and food now. There is no good reason for delay.

189 Comments

  1. David Peddy
    June 5, 2021

    Hear, hear.The same can be said for getting rid of much other unnecessary EU regulation
    Get on with it BoJo and Sir JR keep banging the drum !!!

    Reply
    1. Lifelogic
      June 5, 2021

      Indeed and cheap on demand energy is vital to be competitive in much of UK farming and most other industries too.

      Reply
    2. MiC
      June 5, 2021

      Would you care to list a few of these regulations, which you claim are doing so much harm, and explain why?

      I mean, like material, measurable, and significant harm?

      Reply
      1. jerry
        June 5, 2021

        @MiC; All the anti carbon regulations for a start.

        There is little real evidence that ‘excess’ CO2 has any effect on climate [1], given that we are coming out of a 300 or so year high caused by the developed worlds industrial revolutions and massive coal fired expansion, so if we want to keep the climate as recorded during the Victorian era we might actually need to substantially increase the amount of Carbon emitted, not reduce it!

        [1] a computer model merely outputs what the code allows, GIGO…

        Reply
        1. MiC
          June 5, 2021

          They are not European Union rules, but global aims.

          Reply
          1. jerry
            June 6, 2021

            @MiC; But enshrined in to EU laws and regulations, so they are EU aims, the EU could have been like many other countries who either take no notice such ‘aims’ that come out of the UN’s Climate Change Conferences or only ever pay lipservice to them, even some EU member countries, such as Germany!

        2. DavidJ
          June 5, 2021

          +1; the idea of global warming has been comprehensively trashed. Not only was the data used (by Mann then enthusiastically promoted by Gore) suspect but data from the Mediaeval Warm Period was ignored. Now it is a convenient tool for government to control and ultimately ruin our lives. It has to be stopped. Real pollution is a separate matter and we need to bear in mind that the alternative energy systems being proposed are far from free of pollution.

          Reply
      2. Fred.H
        June 5, 2021

        Farmers have to send their sheep and cattle deaths out for cremation at a cost – usually a vet’s bill first, then transport and cremation elsewhere. Allow farmers who wish to, reserve a place on their farms for cremating the dead animals.

        Reply
        1. jerry
          June 5, 2021

          @Fred.H; I’m with you on this, regarding disposal, if it was good enough for the govt and Army during the 2000/01 Foot & Mouth outbreak then surely it should be good enough for farmers today.

          That said, I still believe a vets certification of death should be needed, perhaps at a regulated fee, to prevent the hiding of notifiable diseases, as some European farmers were doing during the BSE crisis in the early 1990s – of course a country will not have disease in their farm stock is it is not or can not be reported!

          On a related issue we need to get back to having local, perhaps ultra local, slaughter houses too, both for human consumption and those old ‘knackers yards’, together with the regulation/inspections of old.

          Reply
        2. MiC
          June 5, 2021

          Like, that affects you, and millions more, right?

          Reply
          1. jerry
            June 5, 2021

            @MiC; It affects everyone who buys produce that comes from livestock farming (and yes that can also mean mixed farms), were do you thin the farmer gets their money from if not farm gate prices and the higher the production costs the higher the farm gate price – of not the farmer will soon go bust!

            Related to beef production; I noted today on “Farming Today this Week” there was some idiots suggesting/agreeing to the idea that a carbon tax should be placed upon meat sales, of course they totally forgot/ignored the high carbon footprint of the ‘veggie burger’, from ploughing the field through to the processing of plant based produce into a meant look-alike….

      3. Lifelogic
        June 5, 2021

        Far better sources than myself for this information, ask any farmer or indeed any businessman or landlord. Overwhelming evidence and studies to support this position.

        Reply
        1. MiC
          June 5, 2021

          That’s “I can’t, then”

          Reply
          1. DavidJ
            June 5, 2021

            -1

          2. Lifelogic
            June 6, 2021

            No it is just what I said. Plenty of easy ti find better sources. When I have more time I could easily do so.

      4. NickC
        June 5, 2021

        Martin, There are tens of thousands of pages of EU Directives, Decisions and Regulations. Even you would not be so bold as to claim that every page of them is necessary. Moreover since EU bureaucrats know nothing about the real world, EU interventionism tends to be directed by lobbyists. So EU rules are not only overly prescriptive, they are also corrupt.

        Although we have exited most of the EU, we remain partly under the control of the EU – directly in some areas (NIP, CFP), and indirectly (by transposing EU Regulations, and by continued domestic law in compliance with EU Directives). Every one of these rules needs reviewing to throw out the useless, modify others, and keep a few.

        The UK is still under the baleful control of the EU’s CFP. The newly signed NIP is used by the EU to annex part of the UK. Then there are others such as the catastrophic global warming agenda rules, the GDPR, to the ridiculous sheep ornament Regulation (1462/2006). All these need scrapping, or drastically revising. No other anglosphere nation has hobbled itself with quite the perversity of EU rules, try as they might.

        Reply
        1. Martyn G
          June 5, 2021

          Pythagorean theorem was stated in 24 words.
          The Lord’s Prayer contains 66 words
          Archimedes Principle was stated in 67 words
          EU regulation of cabbage sales consists of 26,430 words.
          Nothing can be simple for the EU, as they steadfastly adhere to the Napoleon Code i.e. nothing is permitted unless specifically allowed by Law written at the greatest length. Says it all, really.

          Reply
        2. Andy
          June 5, 2021

          Martin is not asking you to list tens of thousands of EU regulations you want to scrap.

          He is asking you to name one or two.

          And you can’t.

          Reply
        3. MiC
          June 5, 2021

          See previous.

          Reply
        4. DavidJ
          June 5, 2021

          +1

          Reply
        5. Fedupsoutherner
          June 5, 2021

          Brilliant reply Nick C.

          Reply
      5. steve
        June 5, 2021

        MiC

        “Would you care to list a few of these regulations, which you claim are doing so much harm, and explain why?”

        I will –

        Banning of Creosote = a lot more fence panels and sheds rotting out prematurely = a lot more wastage of timber resources.

        Banning of xylene in paints = increased manufacturing = more strain on the environment and climate.

        Banning / reduction of food preservatives = wasted food = more strain on natural and animal resources.

        Banning of leaded fuel = millions of cars scrapped = a lot of environmentally damaging emisions from the recycling process.

        Highly stupid move to EU domestic wiring colours = actually caused many people expense, and some their lives.

        Oh…and don’t think of building a house, they’ll even force YOU to build YOUR house THEIR way in YOUR country.

        Shall I go on ?

        You might be ok with the EU and it’s cowards in our governments deciding how you should live your life, how much doing so should cost, and what piss poor quality of goods you get for your money….but I am not and neither are millions of others who like myself work hard for our wages.

        EU law is not acceptable to us and will not be tolerated, and as this government will eventually come to realise Mrs May’s spiteful enshrining of EU law into UK law should not have been allowed.

        Reply
        1. DavidJ
          June 5, 2021

          +1

          Reply
        2. Fedupsoutherner
          June 5, 2021

          Another great answer Steve.

          Reply
        3. MiC
          June 6, 2021

          Banning things which kill people, and you write that as if it were a bad thing.

          Reply
      6. a-tracy
        June 5, 2021

        I don’t know the regulation number Martin but what allowed this extra retrospective taxation ‘The European Commission has reviewed the economic performance of all member states since 1995, and revised its economic statistics to take greater account of things like income from the black economy. The result is that the UK faces by far the largest extra payment.’ £1.7bn from prostitution and drugs in the black economy so the majority that don’t use these products paid the bill.

        Reply
    3. Nig l
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
    4. SM
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
    5. Andy
      June 5, 2021

      We’ve been waiting for 5 years to hear what you want to get rid of. And – beyond cheaper tampons – none of you can ever tell us.

      Reply
      1. Richard1
        June 5, 2021

        What?! There have been dozens of proposals for this, although to date we haven’t seen much from the govt. they include MIFID2, GDPR, Solvency2, the CAP, the CFP, the anti-science policies on gene-editing, all manner of distortions under state aid policy, the enabling of politicised judicial activism due to the adoption of vague platitudes as quasi-constitutional principles, and of course the whole area of the customs union and free trade.

        The jury is out in Brexit. On the one hand project fear has been shown to be a shower of nonsense and lies, we have the big saving of money, and the independent trade policy is an emerging triumph – the complete opposite of what you were assuring us.

        On the other hand we have yet to see much divergence from EU laws and regs. If we don’t, I suspect at some point there could be support for an EEA / EFTA model. The clock is ticking.

        Anyway the great thing is the disaster which you forecast hasn’t happened. You were wrong, you should be big enough to admit it.

        Reply
      2. Peter2
        June 5, 2021

        MiC and Andy
        You’ve had many responses from people posting on here giving lists of laws, rules, regulations and directives that we would benefit from deleting or modifying.
        You just keep (deliberately) forgetting that you have already had these.

        Reply
      3. Lifelogic
        June 5, 2021

        I think you will find they wanted cheaper tampons not to get rid of them!

        I would get rid of almost everything the EU forced onto the UK over 40 odd years and most of the home grown red tape insanities too. Start with employment laws, energy and all the daft planning restrictions.

        Reply
        1. DavidJ
          June 5, 2021

          +1

          Reply
      4. Fred.H
        June 5, 2021

        It must be about that long we’ve asked Sir John to get rid of YOU -but like his Government he doesn’t do the bleedin’ obvious to cheer us all up!

        Reply
        1. Lester
          June 5, 2021

          Fred.H

          If only, what a tonic that would prove to be!

          If Andy and MiC are so keen on the EU I suggest that they move there, they obviously don’t approve of Democracy in action!

          Reply
      5. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        Andy, well you’ve got your answers now. MIC has gone quiet.

        Reply
  2. agricola
    June 5, 2021

    DEFRA is now doubt full of civil servants imbued with EU think and by the sound of it carrying on in the same vein since our departure.
    If the minister in charge is an unreformed remainer then nothing will change. I would ask the minister what his plan is for the future of agriculture and horticulture in the UK. Time for another of your letters perhaps. Apart from the Home Office and Overseas Trade it would appear that all has been overshadowed by Covid. We are long overdue an appraisal of most ministries plans post our departure from the EU.

    Reply
    1. MiC
      June 5, 2021

      So do you advocate some kind of Thought Police, to bar people from responsible positions if they should have any favourable views of the most advanced, civilised, and successful peace project that this troubled world has ever seen?

      And if they should require evidence, on which to make decisions, and prefer the Precautionary Principle to arrant recklessness?

      Reply
      1. agricola
        June 5, 2021

        Mic
        Why your sudden praise of the Swiss system of governance.

        As to your thought police crap, you only choose the other side to play for your side in extreemis as a substitute.

        Suggestion, get yourself off to this EU you adore, thats if they will have you. While in the Uk you just can’t get your head round we have left and are going through a period of decontamination.

        Reply
    2. turboterrier
      June 5, 2021

      agricola
      Exactly. The ministers should have nailed their vision to the mast on where they see their department in 3, 6, 12, months and subsequent years clearly setting out the way forward. If the civil servants don’t like the vision then that is the time for them to hold their hand up and leave. Those who stay are all heading in the right direction together.
      As they use to say in the navy “sign on or ship out”

      Reply
    3. Pauline Baxter
      June 5, 2021

      agricola. That sounds like a very good idea to me. If any one CAN prod our Carbon Neutral and otherwise hoodwinked government into sensible action J.R. is the most likely person.

      Reply
  3. Peter
    June 5, 2021

    ‘Time for Defra to use our freedoms from the EU’

    The government should be calling the shots. To say DEFRA should be doing so is a cop out.

    It’s often very convenient for the government to give reasons why they cannot do something.

    What happened to ‘taking back control’ ?

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  4. Shirley M
    June 5, 2021

    There is a lot of public support for UK produced food. I note many companies have started putting the Union Flag on their products to make selection easier. I despair at all the good arable land being lost to housing and therefore increasing our reliance on imported food, with all the environmental damage caused by transporting this food, plus the loss of UK revenue. The UK needs to become more self sufficient in all areas, not just food.

    I also despair at the UK taking ‘refugees’ from safe countries and providing free everything (including NHS) to anyone who turns up in our country. Soft touch UK is a magnet for all the worlds scroungers, misfits, and all the people with ailments that are expensive to treat in other countries, as they are free in the UK.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      June 5, 2021

      @Shirley M; “I note many companies have started putting the Union Flag on their products to make selection easier”

      …and they have been doing so for at least the last 20 years.

      “I despair at all the good arable land being lost to housing and therefore increasing our reliance on imported food”

      Just remember, many houses in the past, perhaps you own house, will have been built on what was once good arable land, and what of all the land lost to industrial development, should we all simply go back to a pre industrial age. Sorry but you simply come over as a NIMBY in my opinion, with a large dose of “Do as I say, not what I do” thrown in. Also how does your complaint fit with so many complaints that anything but good arable land (flood plains) are being built upon.

      “The UK needs to become more self sufficient in all areas, not just food. “

      Something we have never been, something we can never be, unless we choose to further de-industrialise, further restrict our choice of diet – I hope you do not like Bananas and the such!…

      Reply
    2. Andy
      June 5, 2021

      Germany, France and Spain all take significantly more asylum seekers than us.

      And, contrary to your claim, asylum seekers do not get everything for free. In fact they are not entitled to benefits – they rely mostly on charity, and they get less than £5 a day for food. They are banned from working whilst their claim is considered – something Mr Redwood’s party could easily change – so they cannot provide for themselves.

      The people who get everything for free are pensioners – ie) you.

      Reply
      1. jerry
        June 5, 2021

        @Andy; “The people who get everything for free are pensioners”

        Still not grasp the facts yet I see, such pensioners have been paying into the National Insurance system all their adult lives [1], they are getting nothing more from the system than what they paid in for and thus expect out. I know you and many of your peers in their late teens and early twenties are unhappy that you will not get as good a deal, but it’s not as if you have not been forewarned (to make alternate arrangements), it’s not as though you will reach retirement age and only then find out.

        [1] unless they qualified for NI credits, just as your generation still do, and a safety net that I hope will carry on being available

        Reply
      2. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        Spain has just returned a load of illegals.

        Reply
        1. MiC
          June 6, 2021

          Yes, that’s what member countries of the European Union do with those found to be there illegally.

          Reply
          1. jerry
            June 6, 2021

            @MiC; “Found to be there illegally”

            So when will France be ‘returning’ all those who are camped out in the Calais area, rather than assisting them (through inaction) to find ways to enter the UK illegally? If those camping out in the area were in France legally they would have EU asylum papers, many of who would -if they are telling the truth about age- be living with Forster families, or have received the paperwork that gives them the right to remain in France and by extension the EU, and thus (prior to Brexit) enter the UK and seek work via the front door…

            Spain returns illegal migrants when it suits them politically/economically. Not sure what the situation is now but in the past many a Spanish fruit grower etc. had often relied on cheap North African illegal migrant labour and thus the national and regional govts turned a blind eye.

      3. Lester
        June 5, 2021

        Andy

        We’re not getting anything “free” believe it or not but we’ve actually paid into the system all our lives!

        Presumably you will refuse to draw your pension when that day arrives?

        Give it a rest… please, you’re becoming extremely tiresome and I’m sorry to say just plain boring

        Reply
      4. Peter2
        June 5, 2021

        That’s nonsense Andy
        You have been told this before and yet you keep repeating this nonsense,
        Go on the internet and look it up.

        Reply
      5. a-tracy
        June 5, 2021

        Andy I am getting sick of telling you all the entitlements in the UK that asylum seekers get for free. A room provided is a cost, the weekly allowance is a cost. https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support/what-youll-get
        Free Medical, Free Dentistry. Etc.

        Reply
        1. jerry
          June 6, 2021

          @a-tracy: You should also check the next page from the URL you cited, eligibility;

          If you’ve been refused asylum.
          You can ask for the following if you’re homeless, do not have any money to buy food and you can show that there’s a reason why you cannot leave the UK yet:
          [..//..]

          So the payments are not unconditional, especially the last part.

          So they get a small part of what UK citizens get, or should be getting, if they have no other income, shock horror – it’s called living in a civilised society, or used to be… Also remember migrants/asylum seekers are prevented from working, doing so can adversely affect their claim and also be very problematic for any employer who might either have simply felt sorry or been duped.

          Andy is correct, £39.63 pw per person does equate to £5 per day or so, perhaps you should try clothing, feeding and keeping yourself clean yourself on that.

          Why do you object to migrants/asylum seekers receiving free health care, would you prefer such people are wandering the streets passing on disease, or being found dead in their bedsits. But then you also do not seem to worried that there are British Tax payers how can not get the health care they need either because a vocal minority of politically influential people object to paying slightly higher taxes to better fund the NHS!

          Reply
          1. a-tracy
            June 6, 2021

            Jerry, I don’t object why are you putting words in my mouth. I keep telling Andy there is a cost. I would prefer it actually if all the costs are noted, how much is there accommodation costing in the hotels we are putting them up in, those in the centre of Glasgow at market rates were over £100 per night. How many Council houses are allocated in the UK to asylum seekers how much is this costing, how many share per house? How much is paid out in interpreters, lawyers, court cases over the six months initial claim and typically 12 months under appeal. Are they fed by the hotels as part of their lodgings? Are they the big increase in food bank users. Just what is the full picture of UK charity – as I say I don’t object I just couldn’t find all the costs and spending and whether that is classed as foreign aid or not? Do you know?

          2. a-tracy
            June 6, 2021

            By the way Jerry I have said repeatedly on here that I think they should be working. We are regularly told there are jobs that require filling on the Living wage and they should do them and then they can contribute to their owns costs as the majority of the rest of us do.

            Also, I read somewhere that they were given clothing, phone allowances, other charitable contributions from organisations in the UK is this not true?

          3. jerry
            June 7, 2021

            @a-tracy; No one has ever suggested there is no cost to the tax payer, and few object, other than those whose intent seems to be to stir up bad feelings for political advantage.

            I also think these ‘asylum seekers’ should be allowed to work, and be paid the going rate, over the counter (not under, as many are forced to do now, and thus be open to exploration), but even when eligible EU migrants are employed there is always a small but vocal minority who object, and those objections get even louder with any suggestion of ‘asylum seekers’ being allowed to work (we read comment after comment to that effect on this very site) despite the fact these groups of migrants are often doing the type of work the average UK citizen of similar age don’t want to get out of bed for!

            Most migrants come to the UK not to sponge off the state, they come to try and better themselves. How much is the generation(s) of our own over pampered youth and young adults costing the State, some of who have never paid a penny in UK income tax either, partying the nights away in their DWP paid for accommodation, whilst receiving substantially more than the HO asylum seeker allowance you cited, how many who lost their jobs 14 months ago from Hospitality have enquired about building a career in say farming (either seasonal or permanent as migrants often do), living in the provided accommodation if needs-be, not many by the sounds of it, judging by the number of farmers who struggled to find labour last year and perhaps again this year too.

            We need an honest conversation, not the continued finding of scapegoats….

          4. a-tracy
            June 8, 2021

            Jerry, Andy claimed “And, contrary to your claim, asylum seekers do not get everything for free. In fact they are not entitled to benefits – they rely mostly on charity, and they get less than £5 a day for food. ”

            Of course, they get everything for free, who feeds them in the hotels they’re put up in, who feeds them at the barracks and other lodgings? I could eat for £39 per week quite well actually but then one of my favourite meals is lambs liver, mash and green veg or in season or carrots.

            When you say ‘few object’ we could test this out with the public. When we are receiving the equivalent of 12 full cruise ships per year as well as paying our 0.7% in foreign aid abroad – we should do as Germany do and count onshore foreign aid spending too.

    3. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  5. agricola
    June 5, 2021

    George Eustice, the minister in charge, was I believe a Leaver. He also has a farming background, so ask him what his plans are for the future of UK agriculture and horticulture, not forgetting fishing too.

    We were in the habit of paying an annual fee for EU membership, a large slice of which went to the CAP. Smaller amounts came back. We now can direct this to support our farming and fishing policy. What is the current plan A.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      June 5, 2021

      Defra should put the answers to your questions agricola on their website next week. I would if someone challenged my organisation. It doesn’t take more than an hour or so to update the words on a website and I’m sure Defra will have an IT department. Indeed that could be a whole ‘tag’ who works there, how many in each department, who are the heads, what are they responsible for so we know who to direct our questions to about so much farmland for the last thirty years left barren or with rapeseed.

      Reply
    2. Mark B
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  6. carson
    June 5, 2021

    You complain about transporting food into the UK from thousands of miles away because it does nothing to save the planet and much to damage the UK economy – yet you are a cheerleader for a trade deal on food with Australia. I suppose consistency isn’t your strong point, though blaming the EU for everything – even after we’ve left – certainly is

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      June 5, 2021

      What choice do we have when our neighbours are erecting barriers? These neighbours were offered a free trade agreement and came back to take the food off our tables, literally. When we are prohibited from moving food around our own property, something is wrong. Not so much sharing our cheque book with the neighbours, but the neighbours holding a gun to our head unless we let them rent a room in our house for free.

      Reply
    2. jerry
      June 5, 2021

      @Carson; I guess you miss understand what a “Free Trade Deal” is and what a “Single Market” is, the former allows one to trade with a distant market if we wish, the latter makes it almost a necessity to trade with a distant market.

      Also, as I pointed out to @David Brown a couple of days ago, in many instances it is less polluting to ship goods from the other side of the world than it is to transport them a mere 1500km across the EU.

      Reply
    3. a-tracy
      June 5, 2021

      Carson, I’m sure that freight ships Or freight flights from Australia do not just come directly to the UK? They would do round robin trips and take products back that they require otherwise it is not worth it for them.

      I don’t blame EU for everything. I blame this government with an 80 MP majority for not getting on with tasks quickly. The UK government needs to be more agile, break projects down into smaller achievable chunks then put the gains out there for people to read about.

      Reply
    4. graham1946
      June 5, 2021

      It’s not just about food from Australia, that is the smaller part of it. The bigger prize which such a deal portends is to get into TPP to get bigger markets for our exports in the far east. The beauty of this deal, when it is negotiated, is that we will be dealing with growing economies, have high standards free trade and all without having to cede our law making, money and borders to foreigners. This will shift our reliance on just Western Europe to a more global outlook which is what Brexiteers wanted.

      Reply
    5. NickC
      June 5, 2021

      Carson, JR has specifically and often called for more home grown food. More UK produced food means lower levels of food imports, not higher. Moreover, food from the southern hemisphere complements UK food – because of the seasonal variation. And it makes more sense to import from friends and neutrals like Australia, Chile, etc, than from the hostile EU.

      Reply
    6. agricola
      June 5, 2021

      CARSON.
      I think that our host is against transporting food for thousands of miles unnecessarily. My example, not our hosts, is Asparagus. We can buy it from UK sources, same day or following day purchase, between about start May to end June. I see no point in purchasing shrivelled asparagus from South America at any other time in the year. By all means extend the growing season of things we can grow by purchasing from Europe.

      Because much of what we eat cannot be grown in the UKs climate. Mangoes have to come from the tropics. Given the choice I would switch pork purchasing from northern Europe to Spain where the quality is far superior. The spanish would not buy pork and bacon pumped up with water. Most of our supermarket offering is.

      I do not know sufficient about australian beef and lamb and the benefits we might gain from it. Except to say the beef will be hung chilled for the journey so we get 28 day meat by default.

      Each case must be judged on its merit. It is glib and easy to condemn our host until you begin looking at it case by case. The greatest gesture the UK buying public can make to food miles is to begin eating seasonally and cease demanding everything all the year round.

      Reply
  7. ChrisS
    June 5, 2021

    Apart from George Eustice, like many departments, DEFRA is stuffed full of Remainers.
    They need to get on message or the minister needs to have a clear out.
    He should start on Monday by ordering a complete re-write of the website.

    Reply
    1. Len Berry
      June 5, 2021

      Of course it is stuffed with Remainers. Civil servants are well educated, and we know that the single most relevant factor determining how people voted in 2016 is education – well educated people voted heavily to Remain, people without qualifications voted heavily to Leave. And now we have left. A lot of civil servants are ready to implement the Leave promises – frictionless trade with the EU, lovely trade deals with the rest of the world, continuing subsidies for farmers and fishers etc, lots of cash left over for the NHS. But they know that all these promises were fairy stories.

      Reply
      1. dixie
        June 5, 2021

        @LBerry – “we know that the single most relevant factor determining how people voted in 2016 is education”
        please cite the proof for this,

        Reply
    2. a-tracy
      June 5, 2021

      Chris out of date Government websites are just pure laziness. There will be an IT department in Defra, Managers, Senior Managers, tell the public who they are and we can hold them to account if the politicians don’t have the time to do it. Get on with it DEFRA.

      Reply
    3. SM
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  8. Garland
    June 5, 2021

    Astonishing! Five years on from your referendum win you want the government to produce new schemes to stimulate innovation, investment and promotion yet you don’t even have one idea or suggestion what that might mean. Britain truly was conned in 2016, what an empty vessel Brexiters are

    Reply
  9. turboterrier
    June 5, 2021

    One problem commonly talked about in farming circles is that of absentee landlords. Farms bought as a tax benefit with a manager living in the accommodation and just working on auto pilot. No incentive to make changes , increase output, increase stock or improve the equipment. Just soldier away to literally keep the roof over their head. Watch the land he works on get planted with trees and turbines easy subsidised money for the owner. No rewards for the farm manager and his family,. The full potential of the enterprise wasted as there is no incentive to produce more as long as the stock are presentable at market. Slowly the farm runs down outbuildings, fences, ditches gates and grids all in need of repair or replacement. The only positive it gives the farm manager a home and employment. What a waste repeated hundreds of times across the UK.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      June 5, 2021

      Franchisees of large private organisations are put in league tables of results by the Franchisor. The shareholders and owners of the Franchisor then get to questions failing franchisees and help them to get their house in order. Perhaps British Farming needs a similar regional model to weed out as it were people who need more help to be successful.

      Reply
    2. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
  10. oldtimer
    June 5, 2021

    It sounds as though there need to be changes at the official level at DEFRA or at the ministerial level to reorient thinking to the new realities. If the people at the top do not think the way you have set out then nothing will change until they change.

    Reply
    1. a-tracy
      June 5, 2021

      Old timer, you don’t always have to make changes, you simply have to hold them to account. Challenge the Senior Manager who is responsible for the information and the portal and set them the task to sort this out next week. Updating a website doesn’t take long if they’re doing their jobs properly and have results to tell us about.

      Reply
  11. steve
    June 5, 2021

    JR

    “….if we then have to transport food into the UK from hundreds or even thousands of miles away, grown and produced in carbon generating ways, we have done nothing to save the planet and much to damage the UK economy.”

    One of the many facts blowing holes in climate alarmism arguments.

    Reply
    1. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      For example the Johnson’s UK zero carbon idiocy, completing ignoring the fact that importing consumables for the ever increasing population of the UK is creating even more global carbon, than if they stopped importing people and the consumables were grown/manufactured here.

      Reply
  12. Cynic
    June 5, 2021

    More examples of the pernicious influence of the EU and the green agenda. The government seems wedded to both of them.

    Reply
    1. MiC
      June 6, 2021

      When you’re near-surrounded, by a market of half a billion people for your produce, isn’t it simply the physical facts, which mean that you might be interested in what standards and specifications they require before they will buy from you?

      So what are you going to do about those?

      Well?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        June 6, 2021

        MiC
        You show your lack of experience and knowledge about how companies sell into the numerous export markets they sell goods and offer services to.
        They manage to meet the quality, safety and other requirements of every nation in the world that they sell into.
        It has been happening for decades.
        Even before the EU existed.

        Reply
      2. a-tracy
        June 6, 2021

        Martin we were importing more than we were exporting to the EU, tiny little UK, whilst totally compliant with all the regulations, laws, rules for the last forty years – don’t you think that was odd in itself, this massive market who were more protectionist than the UK. We always had to be totally compliant with their rules ask Dyson. All the goods currently manufactured meet their standards and specifications and they’re still playing silly beggars, BUT please carry on telling everyone how the EU is blocking the UK manufacturers and producers that have been compliant for forty years. Keep banging the drum and we will continue to improve our home markets.

        Reply
  13. Alan Jutson
    June 5, 2021

    It seems that the mantra of banning and controlling by Government and Local Authorities is still rife in our society, where do as I say or else is the aim, no matter if it is farming or anything else.
    So much easier to try and control, destroy and say no, rather than seeking improvement by being encouraging, positive, and saying yes.

    Reply
    1. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      +1
      However did the country survive and prosper for hundreds of years, prior to the contemporary politicians, with no real world work experience, decided they know best policies…?

      Reply
    2. steve
      June 5, 2021

      Alan Jutson

      “It seems that the mantra of banning and controlling by Government and Local Authorities is still rife in our society”

      To be expected when the country is run by a pro-EU autocratic coward.

      Reply
  14. J Bush
    June 5, 2021

    What I want to know is why and who told them to pay farmers to plant trees and keep permanent pastures (PG01) but not provide the same level of support (financial or otherwise) to grow food?

    They make farmers jump through hoops with their over bureaucratic red tape bound forms and, sometimes, unannounced inspections and their ridiculous (costly to the taxpayer) decisions, by people who have never actually worked the land! One is reminded of call centres representatives who read off a script and are stumped if you ask a valid common sense question, because the answer is not on their script.

    Reply
  15. Nig l
    June 5, 2021

    I see a very senior civil servant says they should (only) accept what government wants on some issues. I wonder whether the pro EU element is acting as a fifth column?

    Equally a recent authoritative report stated that zero/little is being done to clean up our statute books from old EU legislation. So it’s also sympathising Ministers to blame? Or is it just inefficiency?

    Your questioning of Ministers is excellent. One glaring omission. You never seek or get a ‘by when’ date hence we get bland kick it into the long grass answers and as seen with this post, we continue to wait for an answer.

    Reply
    1. MiC
      June 5, 2021

      Far, far and away most European Union rules are lists of safety thresholds. e.g. for hazardous substances in the workplace, contaminants in food and medicines, product specifications for environmental and other reasons, pollutants in the air and in river and sea water and so on.

      Which would you like to scrap, and more especially, why?

      Reply
      1. Peter2
        June 5, 2021

        I would scrap them all and allow our elected Parliament to rewrite those which they felt were necessary.

        Reply
      2. a-tracy
        June 6, 2021

        So all these European Union safety rules didn’t stop Grenfell did it? Or its French manufacturer selling unsafe products for buildings.

        Reply
  16. Fedupsoutherner
    June 5, 2021

    The longer they leave it John the more land available for house building. I see our border farce entered French waters to pick up immigrants. We will need much of our agricultural land to support all the extra people. Don’t talk about protecting nature when we are going all out to destroy it. Can this government do ANYTHING right? I have no words to describe the anger I and many Conservative voters are feeling. It is total betrayal.

    Reply
    1. Fred.H
      June 5, 2021

      Express anger by becoming ex-Conservatives.

      Reply
      1. MiC
        June 5, 2021

        If you mean in the same sense of Monty Python’s ex-parrot then I’m all for that, Fred.

        Reply
        1. Fred.H
          June 5, 2021

          you are just a very naughty boy. Or is that the Boy Robin, your protege.

          Reply
      2. Lester
        June 5, 2021

        Fred.H

        After a lifetime of voting Tory I’m now an ex-Tory

        I even voted for Johnson in the Leadership election, I can’t remember ever being so disappointed, what with a wife pretty much the same age as his daughter and a car crash of a private life!

        I can’t imagine what her Majesty must have thought having had to accept the situation?

        Reply
    2. Andy
      June 5, 2021

      It is also very funny.

      Reply
      1. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        You would think it funny being a schoolboy at heart. You have a lot of growing up to do.

        Reply
    3. glen cullen
      June 5, 2021

      Its beyond anger

      Reply
      1. glen cullen
        June 5, 2021

        Even under any previous Labour or coalition government I’d felt that they where a British government, with out best interests a heart – but now under this Boris government I actually feel as though they’re the enemy; fighting against the people

        Reply
        1. Lester
          June 5, 2021

          Glen Cullen

          I agree completely, theirs certainly not acting in the best interests of the voters
          Johnson has a particularly untrustworthy air about him, little piggy eyes

          And I bet that this won’t survive the moderation process?

          Reply
    4. SecretPeople
      June 5, 2021

      +1

      Reply
    5. turboterrier
      June 5, 2021

      F U S
      Border farce.
      It’s far worse than that. The captain and crew have cooperated with known law breakers and felons to lift these people in French waters. If they were ordered to do so then those responsible must be held accountable and dismissed. Their actions must come under the heading of gross misconduct. If the Home Secretary was aware of the operation then she and all the members of her senior team involved down to the captain of the vessel should be dismissed with immediate effect.
      When for crying out loud are we going to wake up to the incompetence of the people we the taxpayers are paying for?

      Reply
  17. Chris White
    June 5, 2021

    Have I read this correctly, you think the only way UK farming can survive is if the UK government provides subsidies to make the products competitive with those from the EU (and I assume other nations such as China and US)? Whilst I don’t disagree with this (we’re not competitive on price) I’d predict we won’t provide the subsidies required and UK farming will go the way of UK manufacturing.

    Reply
  18. majorfrustration
    June 5, 2021

    the same can be said of the Home Office – all talk and n action. Yet why are we surprised?

    Reply
  19. Richard1
    June 5, 2021

    Maintaining clean and beautiful countryside with efficient access via well-maintained public footpaths is a public good so we should have no problem paying farmers for it. But we must make sure that any future subsidies are linked to tests of this. As suggested before on this site by Sir John, it would be good to see a return to far more local growing of apples and other fruits and traditional vegetables. Perhaps we might even see a move away from the agri-desert which the distorting EU subsidy scheme has promoted in parts of the Country.

    Reply
    1. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      I loved the Coxs Orange Pippins. English apples destroyed by the EU.

      Reply
      1. MiC
        June 5, 2021

        Yes, like they destroyed red telephone boxes, Berni Inns, and half-timbered Morris Travellers eh, JB?

        Reply
        1. Fedupsoutherner
          June 5, 2021

          That’s a totally ignorant comment.

          Reply
        2. Fred.H
          June 5, 2021

          An analyst would have a field day with you.

          Reply
        3. Lester
          June 5, 2021

          MiC

          What a puerile comment, I never could take you seriously!

          Let’s try and have an adult debate shall we?

          Reply
    2. Julian Flood
      June 5, 2021

      I have a post up at Independence Daily about subsidies for public recreational access to the countryside – lockdown experience shows there is a high demand for this. A Fair Field Full of Folk.

      JF

      Reply
  20. Ian Wragg
    June 5, 2021

    DEFRA like many government departments is in morning. Leaving the EU is like the passing of a parent.
    Now it is free it doesn’t know how to cope, it needs to grow up. The same can be said about the Home Office and their main priority of taxiing and accommodating boat people.
    It’s time to get a grip.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 5, 2021

      Ian

      The CS and successive governments have been infantised. After decades of others doing their work for them they are at a loss as what to do. No wonder they are clinging to the skirts of the EU for dear life.

      Reply
    2. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      The government could start by kicking out the senior, middle and lower management who, through intransigence or dogma, refuse to move away from the EU model of red tape bureaucratic and box ticking overdrive idiocy.

      Reply
  21. Ian Wragg
    June 5, 2021

    Mourning.

    Reply
    1. Mark B
      June 5, 2021

      Good morning, Ian.

      🙂

      Reply
  22. George Brooks.
    June 5, 2021

    Both DEFRA and the Home Office seem to have their hands tied behind their backs. Lots of intention and zero implementation.

    Has Macron threatened to order EDF to cut the power cable across the channel and shut down the power stations that the own here?!!!!!!!!!!!! Then we have a ‘drip of a judge’ ruling that army barracks are not fit for illegal immigrants as there are too many to one room. He is too young to have done National Service with 20 in a barrack room, 2 cold showers, 4 basins and 3 loos.

    Climate change and the Greens have killed off all the pre-Brexit plans for our farmers and the Border force are going into French water to pick up the illegals

    Tell us the truth Boris or give total support to our farmers and shut the door at Dover!!!

    Reply
    1. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      +1
      I fail to understand, given the money the government has given to France to stop this, why they are not returning the illegals back to the safe country they left!

      There is no logic, but acknowledge there may be a subversive reason why they are doing this, whilst simultaneously not telling the native population, who is also expected to pay for it.

      And for those will believe uncontrolled illegal immigration should continue, my response to you is, you pay for them and you take on the liability when a crime is committed by these unvetted people. In fact I would be happy to see it put to a referendum, and then we will see how many are prepared to put their money where there mouth is.

      Reply
    2. steve
      June 5, 2021

      George Brooks

      “Tell us the truth Boris”

      …Ha Ha you’re having a laugh mate. Don’t expect him to play straight, like all remainers he’s a coward.

      Reply
  23. Everhopeful
    June 5, 2021

    DEFRA is pretty fixed on the idea of reintroducing species of wildlife…to reverse the decline.
    Why don’t they understand what has caused the decline?
    Building houses, pesticides, decking, fences, security lights,roads,cars,stupid morons blocking up holes under fences,ditto paving over front gardens.
    In other words ….too many people!
    Yet still the boats and planes come.
    And us in a pandemic….oooooooo!

    Reply
    1. Sir Joe Soap
      June 5, 2021

      There needs to be a separate Ministry of Agriculture.
      Paying lip service to looking after the countryside is a waste of time when 500 houses a day are needed for illegals. That’s a week to fill up our village extension of 2500 houses, then another then another.

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        June 5, 2021

        +1
        Trouble is they just don’t care.
        I don’t know what they think will be at the end of it all.
        A new Hong Kong? Every green space built on.

        Reply
      2. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        Sir Joe. Andy and MIC think it’s funny but then most juveniles would.

        Reply
    2. MiC
      June 5, 2021

      You don’t mention domestic cats, EH.

      People wouldn’t need to block holes under their fences either, if not for this scourge.

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        June 5, 2021

        Don’t be silly. Cats climb fences.
        So do foxes for that matter.
        When you block holes under fences you kill hedgehogs.

        Reply
        1. Fred.H
          June 5, 2021

          true – we should all line tops of fences with razor wire.

          Reply
      2. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        You are being totally stupid today. Are you taking something or do you need a doctor?

        Reply
  24. Sharon
    June 5, 2021

    I agree JR, but look around us, there’s plenty in Whitehall that seem not to wish our country well. We’re stuck in EU think. We’re hampered by the not ideal withdrawal agreement, scaremongering still goes on with regards to releasing lockdown, travelling abroad seems to suggest zero Covid is the target…the “green” agenda.

    It’s as though there are people with a death wish for the country.

    Reply
    1. steve
      June 5, 2021

      Sharon

      “We’re stuck in EU think. ”

      And will remain so until people get so angry they use the power of elections to get anti – British cowards out of the establishment.

      Reply
      1. Lester
        June 5, 2021

        Steve

        Given the total lack of choice there doesn’t seem to be much point in elections?

        Reply
        1. steve
          June 5, 2021

          Lester

          Agreed but my choice is to vote for Labour, even though I’ve always voted conservative. Reason = just to stick it to the cowards who betrayed us.

          Reply
  25. Everhopeful
    June 5, 2021

    Well…like it or lump it we’re OUT! Apparently.
    Probably there isn’t a mandarin in Whitehall who had not “gone native”.
    They are bound to be dragging their feet …all the while stamping them in fury!
    Is there even a mandarin who knew the job before our submission to the EU?
    They need de-programming!

    Reply
    1. steve
      June 5, 2021

      Everhopeful

      “Well…like it or lump it we’re OUT! Apparently.”

      No we’re not. It’s BRINO thanks to wets Johnson & May. And the price the cowards paid to be ‘allowed’ this phoney exit was giving up NI.

      Reply
      1. MiC
        June 5, 2021

        This is brexit. It really is, Steve.

        We tried to tell you that it would be exactly this rubbish.

        You see, the other twenty-seven are a large part of the world, right around us. And their union is more settled than for a long time thanks to it.

        You can’t wish facts away.

        Reply
        1. Everhopeful
          June 5, 2021

          Nothing very settled there.
          Ructions between the Visegrád countries and the EU.
          Vast tensions and economic disparities between the Club Med countries and Germany and the frugal North.
          Lack of fiscal transfers in the Eurozone…nothing to compare with the flow of money to Scotland via the Barnett Formula!
          Propensity to impose hard borders when it suits.
          Frexit and Marine Le Pen for President….WoooooHoooooo!

          Reply
          1. Everhopeful
            June 5, 2021

            Just face facts!

        2. Fred.H
          June 5, 2021

          you mean like Hungary and others buying vaccinations while the rest run by Germans and French keep waiting and dying? Like Spain, Greece, Portugal pleading for tourists – yet the industrial countries keep schtum.

          Reply
        3. steve
          June 5, 2021

          MiC

          Being lied to and betrayed by one’s leaders has nothing to do with remainer’s claims that the brexit vote was a bad result for the country. But then that’s how you lot operate is’nt it….not fair and square but by getting your man in there and cheating. You learned that trick from Blair.

          I don’t believe you should criticise this government, after all they are your people.

          Reply
      2. Everhopeful
        June 5, 2021

        That’s why I put….”Apparently”.
        Can’t pretend I’m not disappointed.
        But the day after Johnson was elected I though “ Oh no…this is going to be MUCH WORSE than even the EU!”.
        I expect that in reality the mandarins are just following orders?

        Reply
  26. jerry
    June 5, 2021

    “Instead of brimming over with the changes they want to make to our fishing and farming policies now we can control them, it faithfully records the EU laws, rules and old schemes that dominated us for so long.”

    It is not DEFRA’s roll to promote party political wish-lists, in fact it is probably illegal for them to do so, once govt policies or the laws and rules change that is when the content of the site will change surely – no?

    Reply
  27. MPC
    June 5, 2021

    Well, the Leave campaign emphasised that Brexit would bring freedom from new EU laws rather than an overt promise to tear up as many existing ones as possible. Some of us did adopt this non threatening tone during the campaign and succeeded in persuading waverers to our cause. So perhaps we shouldn’t be overly hung ho about all things EU.

    Reply
  28. Bryan Harris
    June 5, 2021

    How many ‘hints’ do DEFRA need to get their act together?

    How much time do they need to be effective?

    The failings attributed to DEFRA arise again and yet again – Time the minister acted!
    Although Mr Eustice MP does seem to be out of his depth.

    Reply
    1. J Bush
      June 5, 2021

      ‘How much time do they need to be effective?’

      All the time in the World. As it would appear Johnson & Co have no problems with the way DEFRA are behaving.

      Reply
    2. Lester
      June 5, 2021

      BH

      Absolutely correct

      +100

      Reply
  29. Denis Cooper
    June 5, 2021

    Does the DEFRA website clarify what parts do not apply to/for the Northern Ireland part of the UK?

    Like the caveats in some commercial advertisements, which have long been a source of complaints:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20985528

    “When Northern Ireland is excluded from the rest of the UK”

    That’s from 2013 and so nothing to do with Brexit, but it should really be updated to try to encompass all of the relevant adverse effects of Boris Johnson’s capitulation to the EU, as approved by Tory MPs.

    Regarding which, here are some more threats from Brussels/Dublin:

    https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/uk-playing-a-very-dangerous-game-by-inflaming-tensions-over-brexit-warns-eu-commissioner-mairead-mcguinness-40504158.html

    “UK ‘playing a very dangerous game’ by inflaming tensions over Brexit, warns EU commissioner Mairead McGuinness”

    “The EU has lashed out at the UK for “battering” the Brexit deal, threatening to take action if London doesn’t get on board with the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

    “The 2019 Brexit deal and the recently approved trade agreement with the UK allows either side to suspend market access if the treaties are being breached.”

    I think somebody important, somebody like a Tory MP, should be asking the government to tell us honestly whether in this case “suspend market access” would mean a complete block on imports from the UK, or just the imposition of tariffs and additional non-tariff barriers.

    Reply
    1. Old Salt
      June 5, 2021

      Denis
      Indeed- I remember said commissioner saying on TV “.. get used to the new reality …”

      As one Martin Selmayr once said “The price the UK would have to pay would be the loss of Northern Ireland”.

      So the EU are adamant that’s way it’s going to be.

      This is not leaving having our country divided with the EU on our soil.

      Reply
  30. David Brown
    June 5, 2021

    It’s good to know that you support the farming industry (don’t forget Horticulture)
    The EU did an excellent job in supporting farming for now this is lost.
    So the Gov needs to have support schemes in place for food production.
    DEFA need to revamp its web site as it looks old and tired.
    There is still plenty of brown field sites for housing especially as I champion more apartments. There are former quarry sites that can be used. It’s too easy just to build on arable green land.
    In inner city areas there is the early signs of evolving High Streets into a mix of ships and apartments as more shopping activity moves on line.
    So overall the pressure to build on arable green land should be resisted. I’m also concerned about the knock on effect of barn conversion, because this some times is an excuse to develop the wider area.
    Barn conversions are ok but not if it leads to more development around that encroach on arable green land.
    Once farm land is developed it’s gone and it’s an easy option.

    Reply
    1. jerry
      June 5, 2021

      “It’s good to know that you support the farming industry (don’t forget Horticulture) The EU did an excellent job in supporting farming for now this is lost.”

      How ironically Incorrect, the EEC/EU did massive damage to UK farming, never mind Horticulture! In my own area we used to have huge numbers of green houses growing cut-flowers etc, we also has apple orchards and the like, all now gone, same happened in East Anglia. Spalding for example was a centre for such trade and traffic, most of it also gone, replaced by cut flowers from the Netherlands…

      Reply
      1. Fedupsoutherner
        June 5, 2021

        Jerry, try telling MIC that. He doesn’t understand. Bless.

        Reply
    2. Everhopeful
      June 5, 2021

      Secondary Modern schools used to have Horticulture as subject.
      How much wiser people were before wokeness took over!

      Reply
      1. Everhopeful
        June 5, 2021

        Bl*********dy iPad.
        …as a subject.

        Reply
      2. jerry
        June 5, 2021

        @EH; Yes, and Secondary Modern schools along with the earlier Comprehensives that followed often went one better, often having their own growing beds for veg and flowers, they also did a very good job teaching the basic fundamentals of many a trade, as either part of the curriculum or as subsidised after school clubs – then came the ‘wokeness’ of the Education Reform Act 1988 with its “Key Stages” that do not allow enough flexibility.

        Reply
        1. Everhopeful
          June 5, 2021

          +1

          Reply
        2. a-tracy
          June 6, 2021

          Jerry did you go to a Secondary Modern School?

          Reply
  31. David Brown
    June 5, 2021

    Ships should read shops – my iPhone has a habit of spell check and I probably click send too quick without double checking

    Reply
  32. HGRJ
    June 5, 2021

    Defra
    The urgency of this project cannot be understated, there are farmers who have been severely weakened by our membership of the EU and their love of their industry that most were born into has been questioned to the point that the land that they own is being placed up for sale, and the most prominent buyers, like vultures circling over a dying man, are the big house building companies to build crammed together housing estates causing more environmental problems for the future generations.
    The ministers given the post by this government to oversee the future of British Agriculture/Fish farming are, based on their history ideal candidates. They have a very important project to undertake. Their actions now will not be seen for many years but our future is in their hands, I wish them good judgement on the decisions they make.

    Reply
  33. Narrow Shoulders
    June 5, 2021

    Could kit be that there are no farming initiatives due to the “level playing field” that we are handcuffed to Sir John.

    This stricture is the handcuff that keeps us bound to the EU and unable to use our freedoms.

    Reply
  34. glen cullen
    June 5, 2021

    Good try SirJ but nothing has nor will change anytime soon. Under Boris government we have agreed not to alter our ‘fisheries’ for 5 years, and the terms of the WA & NI restrict us under the clause of ‘level playing field’….another words Brino
    I don’t expect Defra to change at all under this government

    Reply
    1. Lester
      June 5, 2021

      Glen Cullen

      We’ve been well and truly sold out big time

      Johnson could have just walked away and gone with the WTO option but No, he just kept going back thus sending a clear message to the EU so we now have BRINO with a border down the Irish Sea

      Reply
  35. a-tracy
    June 5, 2021

    You’ve got to wonder when German supermarkets are now reporting that 75% of the Food products sold are now British and I read they are supporting British farmers with advertisements on tv just why British owned supermarkets are behind this curve. These German supermarkets are also top in price comparison websites and Which. There is something rotten at the heart of British supermarkets and if they’re not careful these German owned supermarkets will squash them with their plans for 500 more stores selling all sorts to put more local businesses out of action with their bigger and bigger price push discounting and none food products from China and low cost supply areas.

    Fascinating subject that I’ve never taken an interest in. I just read that 76,396 farms were paid more than £10,000 in subsidies by DEFRA in 2020 on the Defra website. The average pay out subsidy to those 76,396 farms is £45,591. What do the public get back for this? What is expected for the subsidy? Who checks they do what is required? I wonder what these farms produced last year and were they sold in Britain at profit or not?
    £3,482,997,675.75 was paid out in one year!
    If you are a young farmer you get more (possibly to encourage parents to pass the farm down sooner).
    DEFRA paid the Welsh Assembly £10, 854,788.96 in a subsidy – for what?

    Reply
  36. Dave Andrews
    June 5, 2021

    Why should anyone be surprised DEFRA are slow in getting things done? They are a department used to doing what the EU tells them, without the ability to think for themselves. You won’t get initiative just like that; it has to be grown over time (from where, I have no idea). I expect they are fully up to date with diversity training, so got it where it counts.
    I wouldn’t expect anything from the government. Farming is just something to talk about. They would rather import cheap food, and place housing estates over the entire countryside, with the prospect the occupants will be working in the far higher tax revenue financial services.
    Best just to pay the farmers to make the countryside look pretty for the tourists.

    Reply
  37. Everhopeful
    June 5, 2021

    I do not know how the likes of JR and others ( maybe) can bear to stand by and watch all this shilly shallying, sulky foot dragging.
    When ministers were forced to accept surrender to the EU ( or whatever it called itself then), they did so with ( far too much) good grace. Embraced it with passion even.
    Now the boot is on the other foot…no such cooperation!
    But then, the Left never plays fair.

    Reply
  38. Bryan Harris
    June 5, 2021

    Can I ask what DEFRA is doing about this looming problem:

    Historic Frosts and Freezes Impact Farmers across the Northern Hemisphere: UK Vegetables Supplies “Desperately Low.”

    We may not have empty shelves yet, but it would be good to know that DEFRA are aware even of this issue.

    And now, reports are filtering in of certain vegetable being in “desperately low” supply.

    A severe shortage of British asparagus has been reported by thegrocer.co.uk.

    According to the publication, this year’s yields have been devastated by a prolonged period of cold weather.

    https://electroverse.net/historic-frosts-and-freezes-impact-farmers-across-the-northern-hemisphere/?utm_source=mailpoet&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=the-last-newsletter-total-posts-from-our-blog_1

    Reply
  39. Fred.H
    June 5, 2021

    OFF TOPIC.
    I’m back here complaining about the almost non-existent Library service in the Borough.
    All Libraries were closed for months, 22 staff redeployed. Then grudgingly Wokingham, Woodley and Lower Earley were opened on limited days with limited hours each time. The other 6 or 8 have not re-opened at all.
    Notice has now been given that at a minimum the next 2 Saturday openings have been stopped to support ‘Surge Testing’. This service is paid for in Council Tax, I want a refund. Couldn’t other staff be diverted to assist the testing? Car park and street wardens for instance?

    Reply
    1. Bryan Harris
      June 5, 2021

      Libraries serve a vital function – In this area libraries are almost back to normal, book browsing, PC usage and so on.
      It’s not so difficult.

      Reply
      1. Fred.H
        June 5, 2021

        I think lots of councils have returned Libraries to their social and education purpose.
        Our councillors clearly don’t think they are needed, yet Social Services bills have gone through the roof.

        Reply
      2. a-tracy
        June 6, 2021

        I dont know Bryan if libraries are still relevant and so ‘vital’ if they can close them for 15 months!

        Reply
  40. None of the above
    June 5, 2021

    A good post Sir John.
    You have highlighted how EU agriculture is subsidised by the CAP. This a state subsidy and we face a stark choice.
    Either, we match the subsidy and create potential difficulties with our non EU trading partners or, we withdraw from TACA and move to WTO Rules.
    It goes without saying that I think we should force a more reasonable approach to the NI Protocol by the EU or scrap it altogether. If it was up to me, I would choose the latter option in both issues.

    Reply
  41. Denis Cooper
    June 5, 2021

    I think this may fall within DEFRA’s remit:

    https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/0604/1226148-tony-connelly-analysis/

    “While the movements of pets did not hit the headlines when the Protocol was being negotiated, the question of whether dogs should need a rabies-free certificate when crossing the Irish Sea has suddenly become an iconic one for the UK and unionists.

    Under EU rules, domestic pets can move freely across EU borders since member states (as well as Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) enjoy a “Part One” listing, meaning they are deemed rabies-free.

    Countries outside that sphere (including the UK) are given a “Part Two” listing, meaning a rabies-free certificate is required. Some countries are not listed at all.

    UK officials insist that the EU cannot seriously believe that rabies will enter the UK, make its way to Northern Ireland, and from there spread into the Republic and beyond to the rest of the EU.

    For the EU, the reason it knows Europe will remain rabies-free is that each member state agrees to uniform rules.”

    Well, what a lovely mess that Great Charlatan Boris Johnson has inflicted on us, apparently for the sake of his pathetically low value “Canada style” free trade deal, and with the assistance of Tory MPs both Leavers and Remainers, so what are those responsible going to do about it?

    Reply
  42. William Long
    June 5, 2021

    The problem with DEFRA must be at the top; its Remain attitide can only survive because the responsible Minister, Mr Eustice, allows it to. Perhaps he was promoting so called Leaver sympathies simply to get himself into office?

    Reply
  43. Mike Wilson
    June 5, 2021

    Why doesn’t Johnson appoint you as a special minister to run DEFRA?

    It would be nice to see something get done. As you said, it is environmental vandalism to import food from thousands of miles away that could be grown here.

    Reply
  44. nota#
    June 5, 2021

    From todays Telegraph
    “The RAF’s new battlefield drone could be used to search for migrants crossing the Channel under plans being considered by ministers.” … and?

    This seems to be virtual signalling about nothing.. In practice once the illegals are spotted they are then brought into the UK an housed. The UK taxpayer then spends a fortune on their legal fees, because their treatment is not up to the standard that criminals would expect – then nothing.

    Until they are actual sent home, and they can tell the story of the smugglers being ‘con’ men they will just keep coming.

    All the time we keep allowing the smugglers to profit from this venture we are blocking entry to Asylum Seekers that have a genuine need

    Reply
    1. nota#
      June 5, 2021

      Elsewhere in the same paper – “Border Force cutter Valiant allegedly entered French waters to pick up migrants who were not in danger but only going slowly “

      The taxpayer as is acting as the paymaster to illegal criminals, and it appears to be Government Policy.

      The UK taxpayer who gets caught speeding is given harsher treatment than these illegals’

      Reply
  45. Chez
    June 5, 2021

    It doesn’t make sense for less food to be grown – especially when the population is growing (against the wishes of the electorate) I worry that the plan is for depopulation by foul means

    Reply
  46. nota#
    June 5, 2021

    My Apologies Sir John, but some announcements are so dumb

    From the BBC –“The G7 group of advance economies has reached a “historic” deal on taxing multi-national companies, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak says. “

    CT is a tax on profits! as simple as that, No profit in the domain you earn from, because of your management fees to tax free zones still means no CT tax is paid. So the G7 Nations have signed up to nothing just so they can demonstrate to their taxpayers intent.

    2 days of talks achieving nothing that didn’t already exist.

    My apologies once more Sir John.

    Reply
    1. glen cullen
      June 5, 2021

      nota# You’re correct, the G7 talks where never about standardisation of tax revenue nor its actually collection across nations, its about virtue signalling….I’d question why it continues

      Reply
  47. XY
    June 5, 2021

    These are indeed serious concerns. What did George Eustice say when you raised the matter with him?

    What did the PM say about it?

    I assume you can talk to them with such concerns – after all, what would be the point in being a Conservative MP if you couldn’t do that?

    N.B. Mr Eustice is reportedly a remainer who thinks he represents farming’s interests by advocating EU policies and harmful subsidies, so you may only gain any traction here by making the PM aware of the issue.

    Reply
  48. X-Tory
    June 5, 2021

    “The government has promised new schemes to stimulate innovation, investment and promotion of more U.K. food. I wish it would get on with them. We need to promote our farms and food now. There is no good reason for delay. ”

    But that is the problem with EVERY area of government business. It’s all promises and NEVER, ever, any delivery. Just look at any policy area from tackling illegal migrants and bogus refugees to relaxing the rules on CRISPR, from pumping in state aid to boost British manufacturing to resolving the problems caused by the NI Protocol, from increasing our fishing catch and processing to liberalising our financial services regulations.

    The government is doing NOTHING. So you have to ask “why?”. And there are only two possible answers: (i) grotesque, off-the-scale, incompetence and stupidity (which makes them unelectable); or (ii) *deliberate* inaction, resulting from a treasonous desire to placate our foreign enemies rather than promote our own country (which again makes them unelectable). Do you understand now why I am an ex-Tory and can no longer support this government in any election?

    Reply
  49. Malcolm White
    June 5, 2021

    As has been touched on above. Those in DEFRA who thought being in the EU was a good thing are still there. Those who didn’t think it was such a good idea and who thought they could make a difference became frustrated and left.

    In industry, any organisation that fails to adapt to a change of circumstances quickly goes out of business. Sadly, that is not the case with the civil service and unless there are some real incentives to motivate them to change their way of thinking this will take some time.

    This is highlighted by the success of the Department for International Trade. Liz Truss’ team is relatively new, but motivated by a can do attitude. DEFRA is the opposite and is unmotivated by the cannot do attitude.

    Reply
  50. glen cullen
    June 5, 2021

    Just notice that the 2500 offshore wind turbines off my coast where today ‘still’ as there isn’t any wind …..thank the lord for nuclear and coal

    Reply
    1. Fred.H
      June 5, 2021

      I hope nobody is charging their Teslas…

      Reply
  51. bigneil - newer comp
    June 5, 2021

    You mention Farms again John – so I will ask the same points – -Where are all the houses going to go to house Africa and Asia – and the 5m+ from Hong Kong? on Farmable land.- We are an island – already overcrowded. When are we going to be genocided to make way for all the immigrants – AND the farms? You could at least have the decency to tell us what date our deaths are planned for.

    Reply
  52. glen cullen
    June 5, 2021

    Listening to Border Force audio recording today I understand that its now (and has probably always been) the governments policy to accelerate and assist the illegal immigrants crossing the channel
    There can be no other answer, the skipper of the border force cutter wouldn’t have carried out his incursion into French territorial waters without a policy and authorisation

    Reply
  53. Pauline Baxter
    June 5, 2021

    Time for Defra to use our freedom from the EU . . . . .etc.
    Yes I’m sure you are right Sir John.
    Please put a rocket up their you know what.
    Environment friendly schemes? ‘Re wilding? What sort of nonsense is that?
    Surely it is obvious to any one with a little bit of brain, that producing as much as possible of our own food is the most environmentally friendly policy.
    Added to which, since the EU have now shown themselves more like a ‘hostile power’ than our ‘friends’ in many ways, it is more sensible to trade (both ways) with other nations.

    Reply
  54. lojolondon
    June 6, 2021

    Dear John – Can I suggest a far better way – as proposed in this Farmer’s Weekly atricle – https://www.fwi.co.uk/business/prepare-farm-business-brexit

    NZ farmers faced EU tariffs up to 300%, so the government started subsidising them heavily. Problem is when businesses get 40% of their revenues from government, they stop farming and focus on subsidies.

    The NZ experiment is very clear – remove subsidies altogether, and farmers will raise their game.

    Reply

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