Ed's Brexit round-up
12th Jan 2018 / By Ed Barker
Welcome back to the first Brexit roundup of 2018! We can be confident in saying that despite it only being 2 weeks old, plenty has happened for us to look at.
Gove's Oxford speech: Last week we saw the annual Oxford Farming Conference take place, with the keynote address given by Michael Gove outlining his vision for UK agricultural policy post-Brexit. In it, he criticised the existing structure of the CAP, and made explicit mention of Government procurement of British food (cynical readers will say we have been down this road before), addressing problems faced by producers in the supply chain (and again), and targeting support at innovation and infrastructure.
In addition to this, he appeared hint at bringing together the creation of a single assurance scheme with indicators that would cover all sectors. He also talked down the need for migrant labour and instead suggesting that automation or innovation should be sought. It is clear that the public goods approach is the main driver behind Government policy, and more tellingly, the £3 billion figure attributed to agriculture seems to be sticking.
One final note of caution is that the real, physical changes coming from a new Domestic Agricultural Policy wont be until at least 2022 – Mr Gove has said that the existing CAP will be transitioned and no new schemes will replace it until it is finished during this transition. If the last 5 years are anything to go by, we could see a lot more changes in that time.
See the NPA's response here
Environment plan: Yesterday also saw the Government release its 25 year plan for the Environment. The event took place at the Wetlands Centre in Barnes, and it was telling that introductory speeches were made both by Michael Gove and the Prime Minister – showing this Government’s desire to be perceived as environmentally ‘on side’, and to have consistency in its messaging.
Defra Ministers survive reshuffle: Political watchers will have seen that there was a Cabinet and Ministerial reshuffle this week (apparently). Despite its huge billing it was somewhat underwhelming – with a few sideways moves in some departments and others, like Defra, remaining untouched completely. A number of backbench MPs, who are good friends with the NPA got promoted to junior roles or Whips. Good for them, but not so much for us, as it means they cannot make contributions in the Chamber or in debates. Still, they are in more central roles with positive messages about our industry and that can only be a good thing.