National Pig Association - The voice of the British pig industry

Pig World logo

Home > News > Conservative manifesto promises planning reform

Conservative manifesto promises planning reform

11th Jun 2024 / By Alistair Driver

The Conservative manifesto, published today, is short on detail on farming policy, but contains some snippets of interest to the pig sector. 

Possibly of most interest to pig farmers is a promise to reform the planning system to ‘deliver fast track permissions for the building of infrastructure on farms, such as glasshouses, slurry and grain stores, and small-scale reservoirs’.

The manifesto insists the Conservatives ‘will always be on the side of farmers’ and promises to increase the UK-wide farming budget by £1 billion over the Parliament, ensuring it rises by inflation in every year. “We will build on work to date to ensure our schemes work for all farmers, from tenants to the uplands and beyond, the manifesto states.

This is accompanied by a promise to continue ringfencing agricultural funding, so it is passed directly on to farming and rural communities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, alongside a new UK-wide £20 million Farming Innovation Fund.

Food security target

There is a pledge is to introduce a legally binding target to enhance our food security, alongside the UK Food Security Index announced by Mr Sunak at the recent Downing Street Farm to Fork summit.

The manifesto promises to support the agricultural sector with the labour it needs to maintain food security, while moving away from the reliance on seasonal migrant labour with a five-year visa tapered scheme. This will be alongside clear investment in automation and promoting agri-food careers and skills.

Having come in for huge criticism over the Australia and New Zealand Trade deals negotiated by Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, the Conservatives promise that they will ‘always stand up for farmers when negotiating new trade deals’, building on commitments to ensure UK farming is at the heart of UK trade.

“We will continue to support UK agri-food and drink attachés in our embassies abroad, pioneering new markets and new opportunities for our domestic food and drink industry,” the manifesto states.

Other pledges include a commitment to improve public sector procurement to ensure at least 50% of food expenditure is spent on food produced locally or to higher environmental production standards.

Under the environment section, there is a pledge to deliver on a commitment made at COP28 last year to introduce forest risk commodities legislation early in the next Parliament, tackling the UK’s impact on illegal deforestation internationally. This process is already having implications on the ability to secure soya at a reasonable price for the start of 2025.

There is no mention of animal welfare in the manifesto, so it remains to be seen whether there will be a more detailed rural/farming/environment manifesto that sheds more light on the party's plans for issues like reform of farrowing systems.